Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Picture ID

Simone’s photo ID arrived last week.
I didn’t know she had applied for one.

“We don’t owe you anything,” I said to the letter from the clinic.
Simone and I had vowed never to go there again,
driven off by noise echoing from room to room.

I slit the envelope. A card spilled out.

Not a bill. A photo ID. For Simone. My cat.
I had to laugh. Bad as any DMV photo,
Simone glowers at the camera, ears laid halfway back.

A criminal cat if ever I saw one!

But where shall we use this card?
Simone is a stay-at-home cat, and old,
born near the end of the last century.
She sleeps. She eats. She sleeps again.

Still, it’s good to know when her shots expire,
though Simone may expire before that.
I’m letting her call that shot.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Missing the Mall

Has it been three months since my last blog?

Update from my wish expressed then: my new glasses did not inspire me to warble hallelujah. Unfortunately, my old glasses still work better. I have another appointment next week to discuss possible solutions. But that’s not why I haven’t blogged.

The only excuse I can think of is lack of inspiration. Well, not exactly that, even. I’ve written a number of poems, most of which have been well-received. I also took a two week Road Scholar excursion to the National Parks in Utah, the subject of my latest poem. (I’ll include it at the end of this entry.)

Today, however, blog inspiration came. Just past noon, I walked the half-mile from my house to a shopping center. Halfway there, I realized my two choices for a bite to eat were Costco and the deli section of a market. Hmm. Costco was jammed. I crossed an acre of parking to the market. Nothing in the serve-yourself buffet looked appetizing.

I quickly found the vitamins I’d come for and proceeded back to Costco. By then, the lines had diminished. A hot dog took the edge off and gave me the energy for my return home.

While I do like my new home in San Luis Obispo, I struggle to understand why local shopping ‘centers’ seem to be so, um, un-centered. At the malls in Eugene – Valley River Center, Oakway Center, Gateway Center - you park on the perimeter of the shops. Two of those centers are completely enclosed. Rain or shine you can walk from store to store without going outside or moving your car. Additionally, each has a food court or at least variously priced restaurants. I often spent time browsing from store to store before or after a meal.

Here, the shops are on the perimeter of parking areas. You need to cross traffic to walk from one set of shops to the next. Or move your car. In addition, restaurants are either non-existent or placed far from the shops. No leisurely shopping, no convenient opportunities for coffee or a meal.

What were the designers thinking?

Oh, that’s right. This is California. The car is king. Drive, they said. Then park, dash in, and drive again.


A trip around Utah’s National Parks

The geologist’s enthusiasm catches hold
but not as she might wish.

Ten days circling Southern Utah
naming Neapolitan layers and
searching for joints and slots
in towering cliff-side casinos.

My eyes refuse to see
chocolate or vanilla
in the magic castles,
Egyptian palaces,
and mushroom-capped guards
on buttressed walls.

Instead, I see The Ancestors -
robe-draped pillars, eyes on the horizon,
their children crowding close.
One leans against a canyon wall,
glowering at our intrusion.

A parade of elephants never move
yet ever march across rock dunes
the color of sun-bleached sand dollars.

Oh, Look! a fox head
stained dark in the pumpkin wall.
And there, carved high in gray stone,
a dog crouches stalking some small prey.
And the eagle! Yes, I see!
etched in oyster stone to soar forever.

Yet all will pass as the Great Artist
reveals and ultimately conceals Her work.

Lee Darling
May 18, 2014