chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

the voice of the house…

jik ~ cut color and scotch tapeTook a poetry workshop* yesterday and what emerged was less poetry and more a random gush of words about place. Here, bits of several lightly connected, timed writings in the voice of a house:

…Before I settled here, before the graves were dug at my feet, before the eucalyptus trees were planted in that stark row, before all that, mine was a simple hill rising from the desiccated river bottom that seldom saw water, a few scrubby sage and manzanita shrubs clinging to my slope. But of course eventually the soldiers arrived with their guns and their shovels and their coffins. And they sprawled the dead around my feet and sliced roads between the corpses and blew into their trumpets the mournful blasts of memory.

…But of course eventually as they tell it the crocodiles came lumbering through the river beds looking for water, gulping round stones, eating the skinny coyotes that prowled the banks. That changed everything, you know. What was supposed to be a house became a swamp and that’s where I grew up, among the caimans and ocelots, behind the orange slough and its cabbage moths.

The place was sunburned and starched, empty on Wednesdays and crowded with arrowheads as the Chumash markets spread. The round scars of campfires pocked the basins and hillsides, charred sticks littered the river bed. Bones and bowls populated the branches as if to escape the predatory crocodiles. But we kept coming back here, kept calling the place home, kept building roads and burying our dead and hammering together houses.

The mystery outside the door was always the sound of sunset, which rang in peals against the blacktop and above the roofs and treetops. It was impossible to record the sound. We tried again and again. We recited it to one another as if we might remember it then. But like our dreams, it was lost…
*Special thanks to the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest and Sheila Nickerson

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