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05.05.10

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Local Poets, Local Inspiration

Ode to Santa Cruz'


Santa Cruz, to honor you,

I declare a mural—–

surfer facing the sea

wearing a full bore tool belt;

rat gray pony tail.

Unfinished dissertation

in hand––he balances,

rampant on a green wave.

Tattoo of Gaia that bears

the word "Mom" on his chest.

His board, a riot of earth tones,

bears the proud legend

"En Plein Air."

On the shore, strong women

will be seen, gathering

with a rainbow of others

in solidarity. Planting, writing,

catching their own waves.

The painting style is bold,

Rivera-like, colors clear,

edges crisp, but the pearly

Pacific light sweetens the mongrel parts––

redwoods, tourists in black socks,

screwtop wine bottles,

pale slackers, bronzed shiatsists,

owlish deans, and organic garlic––

into a rare harmony. All gentled

by an avant garde surfbeat,

string band, folk song loop

from an amp behind

a tie-dyed screen.

—Doug McClellan

Doug McClellan was chairman of the UCSC art department and former Santa Cruz Artist of the Year. After having written foxhole poetry in the South Pacific during World War II, he set it aside in favor of painting upon his return. At age 70 he took up poetry again "aided largely by the computer with its cut-and-paste permissiveness."

Poet Robert Sward edits 'Local Poets, Local Inspiration,' which appears in this space the first week of each month.


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