At the start of each month, poet Al Young pays us a visit -- and he's back today to swoon over June.
WE JUNE BUGS JAZZ JUNE, TOO
“… We // Jazz June. We / Die soon.”
-- Gwendolyn Brooks
They tell me México* was still in charge
of San Francisco Bay when Francis Drake
reached shore in 1579. At-large,
he’d sailed enough around the world to make
his oceanic claim: New Albion --
as he renames the turf where he anchors
his ship, the Golden Hind -- would from nigh on
be England’s. Crown the seaman, crown the bankers.
June 17th, the date of Drake’s land grab,
melts to Sonoma, June 1846.
One grizzly mob displays its own Bear Flag.
One star declares how they were going to fix
the Mexican dilemma -- way back then,
before they knew a thing about June bugs,
before I hatched, before why mixed with when
in history and trivia. No hugs,
no love lost: Pomo, Yurok, Shasta, Modoc,
Miwok, Wappo, Wintun, Maidu, -- tribes
and diatribes the earth remembers. So what?
Tree-fed, a ten-lined June beetle survives
big-time on Junes like these. I know I do.
June Lake, June Gloom -- we June bugs jazz June, too.
* Enthroned in México, Spain (New Spain) was actually ruling California by 1579. But how many June bugs know this?
(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.