Jeff Mays

Red Clay Lands

Progenitor of orange tree turn-of-century magnates
A pretend small town at the top of the east of the valley
Its Victorian turniptops in purple and pink overlook canopy
Of crepemyrtle and peppertrees who with sprinkler help
Have taprooted below desert to watertable hiding

1950’s downtown State Street with white lights in carrotwoods
Betty’s Diner’s limp fried food & Wurlitzer jailhouserocking
Gourmet Pizza’s Girard’s dressing and obscurely bottled sodas
Fifty-five float Christmas parade where Y Circus unicycle kids
Balance and propel agape smiling audience red-sea parted

Giant inflatable kid-slide ponyride and kettlecorn popped
Bags of oranges, clutches of gladiolas, and street performer sounds
With gatherings of black-garbed teenage smolderings

Five-personed oldfashioned rally on street corner Sunday
“Stop the war for oil! Bush is a liar! Honk if you like peace!” fete
Whilst spandex-bright sunglass’d helmets swish by on light-as-feather two wheel racers

Past Ford Park with the tennis courts and most expensive gas in town
To top of high Judson Hill and survey commuter-collected professional people
In their above-ground construction and mismatched streets
Under the R carved, 400 ft tall, into purple San Berdoo majesty,
Between downpointing arrowhead and Seven Oaks Dam enormousicity

Prospect Parked, Morey Mansioned, Kimberly Castle Crested
Pledge of allegiance drummers of Japan romeo & julieted
Arias and orchestras outside in family-night June
Where bronzed Smileys stand, Lincoln’s artifacts entombed

But I’m afraid of the University Avenue offramp
Blindsides in every direction, cars collecting behind you
Pushing you out the chute to deal with the ghosts of cars darting
Swerving appearing out of nowhere and you tumbling
In the stream beside the banks of white wooden crosses
Where sidewalk shrines have with loss enflowered