Arts + Scene » Poetry

An Arcata Blessing


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A blessing on your contrasts, Arcata--
baseball caps and dreadlocks,
bicyclists and bikers,
Budweiser 12-packs vying to
outnumber Downtown Browns.
Nuclear free zone where a
100 foot American flag waves
beside the lupine-lined highway.
Dodge turbo diesel pickups roar
past homemade bio-diesel subcompacts.

Bless white blossoms drifting to the sidewalk,
whiffs of ganga wafting from prim Victorians, your
independent bookstore, asphalt-covered trailer court.
The plaza where McKinley no longer owns
the center of attention. Instead,
there stands nearby, a proud Portland toilet.
Your thrift stores, charter schools and churches,
shelters and bumper stickers:
"No more children in cages," and
"Jesus is my best friend,"
Raids on immigrants and meth labs.
"War is not the Answer" yard signs nod
to their "Support Our Troops" neighbors.

Bless signs next to sewers reminding
"This drains to Jacoby Creek."
Egrets, cattails, and flocks of shorebirds
swooping in perfect tandem, populate the marsh where
waste ponds progressively filter sewage
until it's water pure enough for
oysters alive-o in the bay
Blessings on you, Arcata,--
I've traveled so far to call you home.


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