Don’t Tell the King His Country has Died

“Although he got the message
he was deaf to the news.
There are no chicks in Santa Cruz”
–“The Other Day Near Santa Cruz” by Leo Kottke

I heard it on the half-hour news,
Above her empty seat it settled in
There are no chicks in Santa Cruz

Between a tampon spot and 12-bar blues
I laugh as the busser fills his bin
with what I heard on the half-hour news.

I ask him if he’s paid his union dues.
He smirks, asks me, “Where ya’ headin’?
There are no chicks in Santa Cruz.”

This place is a ring of comfortable pews–
lying, half-empty, tired of the sermon.
I heard it on the half-hour news

A thousand quadriplegics in canoes
are headed for a god-damned fall knowing
There are no chicks in Santa Cruz.

“I’m heading for a town called Lisbon,
Maine, where iced tea’s out of season.”
I heard it on the half-hour news
There are no chicks in Santa Cruz.

——————————————————————–

This was written in 1993, January or February I think.  For those that don’t know, this form is called a Villanelle, which is a fiendish thing to create in English.  I had attempted one earlier, forced to by Mr. Logan, and have since abandoned it.  I don’t consider this anymore than an exercise in form.  There is too much to the story left out due to the constraints of the Villanelle to properly develop the ideas, or I just lack the skill to pull off my own ambitions.  But, that said, it insinuates a world infinitely sadder yet cooler than the one we inhabit.  When I read this, the frustration and isolation of the speaker does come through, and I can’t help but get caught up in it.  So, I guess it doesn’t fail completely.

I re-titled this for this post.  The original title was “Let the Courier Keep his Head.”  The song is one of Leo Kottke’s masterpieces.

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