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Glorious sci-fi futures of slave robots

Three poems by Rick Hill

True Love at Seventy

  • is passion honed by
  • anticipation
  • of coming despair
  • and a certain prayer
  • one of us will bid
  • for one day more or
  • one warm morning or
  • just one shared moment
  • of this sharpening gift
  • this serrated now

Return to Big Sur

  • Redwoods creaking in the wind same as then
  • on Ventana trail rewound with ladybug clouds
  • and fresh poison oak but from where came
  • all these sunflecks on my hand backs?
  • Forty-six more summers did it but where went all those
  • city hippies on hiatus? Their souls gurgle koans
  • in the wide swimming spot of this once-packed stream
  • in this impossibly quiet lotus afternoon
  • as their abandoned blankets rice and wheatstraw
  • dragon notebooks and hip-pocket paperbacks
  • Electric Kool Aid Tin Drum Abbie Hellofit decompose
  • beneath leaf mold beside Monarch beach
  • where flutterby thousands lounge delicately sipping
  • wings opening slowly closing opening closing
  • till the ancient observer jettisons time but not longing
  • and the abyss comes yawning like a coastal fog
  • at sunset as the five millionth generation of mosquitos
  • come buzzing for this only face and mottled hands left
  • as flames flare from this same rock pit and this dead wood
  • that was new green shoots in that 1970 summer
  • sparks reach for the star ceiling glowing
  • up and up twinkling gone ones him and her and him
  • and hymns for them all whisper in the warm night wind
  • hymns with a beat for that gone jubilee.

Smart Fellows with Time to Spare

  • When fevers fade and hearts heal pretty much
  • we can still work up a certain longing,
  • a damp sigh for our inability
  • to step outside this present moment
  • Physicists fix spacetime continuums,
  • so why can’t we grab a theory and some dames
  • and take in the game — when was that now? —
  • where Babe Ruth stepped up and called his homer?
  • Or homestead us some La Jolla beachfront
  • before it got so highpriced and crowded?
  • Oh 1910 — now that was an epoch!
  • Men were men and women likewise!
  • But we can’t go back. Nor fastforward, either.
  • Glorious sci-fi futures of slave robots,
  • antigrav shoes, galactic vacations,
  • sixarmed, passionate Martian princesses —
  • we won’t live long enough to meet them.
  • Oh, the pity, boys, the slow anniversaries
  • this life on track, this shelfawareness.
  • We can’t wait for something bad to happen,
  • something to take our minds off our troubles.

Rick Hill has published poetry, fiction and essays in numerous journals over the past 30 years, along with books on Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis. His memoir We’re All From Somewhere Else: A Southern California Childhood won a San Diego Book Award and is available on Amazon.com. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he directs the writing program at Point Loma Nazarene University.

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True Love at Seventy

  • is passion honed by
  • anticipation
  • of coming despair
  • and a certain prayer
  • one of us will bid
  • for one day more or
  • one warm morning or
  • just one shared moment
  • of this sharpening gift
  • this serrated now

Return to Big Sur

  • Redwoods creaking in the wind same as then
  • on Ventana trail rewound with ladybug clouds
  • and fresh poison oak but from where came
  • all these sunflecks on my hand backs?
  • Forty-six more summers did it but where went all those
  • city hippies on hiatus? Their souls gurgle koans
  • in the wide swimming spot of this once-packed stream
  • in this impossibly quiet lotus afternoon
  • as their abandoned blankets rice and wheatstraw
  • dragon notebooks and hip-pocket paperbacks
  • Electric Kool Aid Tin Drum Abbie Hellofit decompose
  • beneath leaf mold beside Monarch beach
  • where flutterby thousands lounge delicately sipping
  • wings opening slowly closing opening closing
  • till the ancient observer jettisons time but not longing
  • and the abyss comes yawning like a coastal fog
  • at sunset as the five millionth generation of mosquitos
  • come buzzing for this only face and mottled hands left
  • as flames flare from this same rock pit and this dead wood
  • that was new green shoots in that 1970 summer
  • sparks reach for the star ceiling glowing
  • up and up twinkling gone ones him and her and him
  • and hymns for them all whisper in the warm night wind
  • hymns with a beat for that gone jubilee.

Smart Fellows with Time to Spare

  • When fevers fade and hearts heal pretty much
  • we can still work up a certain longing,
  • a damp sigh for our inability
  • to step outside this present moment
  • Physicists fix spacetime continuums,
  • so why can’t we grab a theory and some dames
  • and take in the game — when was that now? —
  • where Babe Ruth stepped up and called his homer?
  • Or homestead us some La Jolla beachfront
  • before it got so highpriced and crowded?
  • Oh 1910 — now that was an epoch!
  • Men were men and women likewise!
  • But we can’t go back. Nor fastforward, either.
  • Glorious sci-fi futures of slave robots,
  • antigrav shoes, galactic vacations,
  • sixarmed, passionate Martian princesses —
  • we won’t live long enough to meet them.
  • Oh, the pity, boys, the slow anniversaries
  • this life on track, this shelfawareness.
  • We can’t wait for something bad to happen,
  • something to take our minds off our troubles.

Rick Hill has published poetry, fiction and essays in numerous journals over the past 30 years, along with books on Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis. His memoir We’re All From Somewhere Else: A Southern California Childhood won a San Diego Book Award and is available on Amazon.com. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he directs the writing program at Point Loma Nazarene University.

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