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I Remember Mendocino

mendocino field by tolbert

 

 

i remember mendocino, with

old gray farm houses and rustic brown barns

 

rock islands harbored in the belly of the bay

where the little town swallowed fog and fishing boats

 

and in san francisco when i was younger

i saw blue and red and purple houses on stanyan street

 

i slowly strolled into coffee houses and

through the time-stilled shops on fisherman’s wharf

 

then gulped laughter

when laughter was part of my life

 

i followed it with ghiradelli chocolate squares

and wisps of the swirling, wayward wind

 

when i was younger i walked along the pacific shores

crying easily because streetlights at midnight never reveal secrets

 

i found sand dollars and a special leather asteroidean,

and when i was younger i had hope and believed there really was a tomorrow

 

now i am old and i have lost my sand dollars and special starfish

now i am old, i have lost hope

 

i have only a tiny bowl of yesterday from which to pull memories

wishing to never lose them yet knowing someday i will

 

for now i am old and all my smiles have been swallowed

and yesterday’s memories so long ago forgotten.

 

i still see the fishing boats off the shores of mendocino

i still hear the fog horns and bellyaching sea lions

 

i still see the waving wildflowers and gray-wood weather-beaten barns

mendocino was old when i first saw her and now we have aged together

 

watched over by the light of point cabrillo turning throughout the night

watching for jesus to walk on the water, to heal the sick and give sight to the blind

 

when the waters calmed, i heard the voice of peace

i looked and it was jesus, looking into my eyes

 

what were you doing on stanyan street?  he asked.

i don’t go down there on friday nights

 

i wept, remembering that when

jesus wept —it was the shortest verse in the bible.

 

 

© 2012, tolbert. All rights reserved.

tolbert (24 Posts)

Born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina, I have Southern roots that were extracted when I lived close enough to Berkeley in the late sixties and early seventies to taste the influences of the pursuit of freedom. As a student at San Jose State University I watched William Kuntsler expound on the values of free speech and he offered more education in an hour, on the lawn by the baseball diamond than most professors gave in a full semester. Married for thirty years, I have two grown daughters and three grandkids,..and two Boston Terriers.


3 Comments

  1. “when i was younger i walked along the pacific shores

    crying easily because streetlights at midnight never reveal secrets”

    This entire poem speaks volumes to me, Tolbert, and this line in particular reminds me of my own time is an area not far from Mendocino. Stellar poem!

  2. Tolbert,

    Aging is such a perverse experience –

    “for now i am old and all my smiles have been swallowed

    and yesterday’s memories so long ago forgotten.”

    Poignant and engaging.

    Another fine piece!

    Larry

  3. You write with your heart and you write as if you mean every word. Don’t know how else to describe my perception. Quietly beautiful and ineffably sad. Now I’m going to read it again! Excellent!

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