Al Young served as California's poet laureate from 2005 to 2008. The winner of awards and honors too numerous to mention, Al Young has contributed to The California Report many times over the years. Starting today, we're making it a regular thing. Al Young spoke with host Rachael Myrow about what inspired him to write us a poem about California every month.
February: "A Deep-Sea Brew"
"Just chill and wait out winter," Death Valley sighs.
Rain-drained, L.A. winces, then pulls back
for yet another long-shot. Will Squaw Valley settle for recycled sewer water to keep snow slopes alive?
From bread-basket Fresno, where fresh food
hides, to poem-like Ukiah (haiku spelled backwards), February - a deep-sea brew of troubling particles, waves and winds - stays open-ended, up for grabs.
Thirty days hath September, /April, June and November. /All the rest have thirty-one, except February, February, which has, which has - what?
- Al Young
26 January 2012
Web Bonus Poem: "Now With The Two-Faced Mask of Janus Off"
Now with the two-faced mask of Janus off,
we take on February from the top,
from Crescent City, from Yreka: soft
poles of California's scuffling north. Yup,
I got that right. The stretching? of daylight
suits San Diego fine, but where we go
from there - say, Watsonville - extends the night.
Merced, you said, sees spring and winter mix
and match deliberately. Voila -- Yosemite!
(c) 2012 Al Young
Al Young served as California's Poet Laureate from 2005 to 2008. Throughout this year he'll be reading an original California poem for us near the start of each month.