4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

You swan dive into a spoonful of Drāno

Three poems by Kevin Opstedal

Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks.
Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks.

Spilling the Kool-Aid

  • You can count your blessings
  • if you have any
  • or shut down in the neon haze that invades the
  • parking lot and changes the way you think about
  • moonlight knocking around at the bottom of a rain puddle
  • even when it hasn’t rained
  • and the way you might say it your voice
  • trailing off into the ozone
  • and how I follow it there
  • like those who know or those who don’t but wish they did
  • a block from the beach
  • where the sky sometimes is like
  • a polished spoon
  • and the tripped-up sidewalk
  • conversant with eucalyptus leaves and damp footprints
  • is often swept with a whisper of tar-streaked sand
  • not to mention misty catalogs of ocean sunsets
  • embalmed in vaseline

Folded into the azure origami of twilight’s last gleaming

  • To understand the relevance of monastic
  • palm trees outside the Kung-Fu Taqueria
  • requires the application of counterweights
  • along with enough saltwater tequila
  • to strip the paint from
  • the walls of your soul
  • or at least enough to skim the
  • bliss off our inherent failure like mist
  • sheering the sky from the pavement
  • There are other more expedient methods
  • I’m sure but
  • as for me I’ve
  • always preferred the scenic route

Mona Lisa in a Sombrero

  • You swan dive into a spoonful of Drāno
  • and from there it’s a clear shot to the
  • ramshackle tenements of Shangri-La
  • A psychosomatic bait and switch
  • Rainwater with a morphine drip
  • Squalor is perhaps the more
  • accurate description
  • inside the shadow of a left-handed tortilla
  • and the sunlight bending that way at Venice pier
  • no different
  • in the dark mirrors that are her eyes
  • sworn to an almost
  • perfect thirst

Poet Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks, including three full-length collections: Like Rain (Angry Dog Press, 1999), California Redemption Value (University of New Orleans Press, 2011), and Pacific Standard Time (Ugly Duckling Press, 2016). He is the editor and publisher of Blue Press Books and has also written a literary history on the poets who lived in Bolinas during the 1970s. Born and raised in Venice, CA, Opstedal currently lives in Santa Cruz.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

John Ashbery: classmate to Kenneth Koch and Frank O’Hara

Poems with disjunction of syntax, a prevalence of puns, whimsy and wit
Next Article

Tasty trip to Tijuana

They have everything you’d expect, including my latest fave taco, octopus
Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks.
Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks.

Spilling the Kool-Aid

  • You can count your blessings
  • if you have any
  • or shut down in the neon haze that invades the
  • parking lot and changes the way you think about
  • moonlight knocking around at the bottom of a rain puddle
  • even when it hasn’t rained
  • and the way you might say it your voice
  • trailing off into the ozone
  • and how I follow it there
  • like those who know or those who don’t but wish they did
  • a block from the beach
  • where the sky sometimes is like
  • a polished spoon
  • and the tripped-up sidewalk
  • conversant with eucalyptus leaves and damp footprints
  • is often swept with a whisper of tar-streaked sand
  • not to mention misty catalogs of ocean sunsets
  • embalmed in vaseline

Folded into the azure origami of twilight’s last gleaming

  • To understand the relevance of monastic
  • palm trees outside the Kung-Fu Taqueria
  • requires the application of counterweights
  • along with enough saltwater tequila
  • to strip the paint from
  • the walls of your soul
  • or at least enough to skim the
  • bliss off our inherent failure like mist
  • sheering the sky from the pavement
  • There are other more expedient methods
  • I’m sure but
  • as for me I’ve
  • always preferred the scenic route

Mona Lisa in a Sombrero

  • You swan dive into a spoonful of Drāno
  • and from there it’s a clear shot to the
  • ramshackle tenements of Shangri-La
  • A psychosomatic bait and switch
  • Rainwater with a morphine drip
  • Squalor is perhaps the more
  • accurate description
  • inside the shadow of a left-handed tortilla
  • and the sunlight bending that way at Venice pier
  • no different
  • in the dark mirrors that are her eyes
  • sworn to an almost
  • perfect thirst

Poet Kevin Opstedal is the author of 27 books and chapbooks, including three full-length collections: Like Rain (Angry Dog Press, 1999), California Redemption Value (University of New Orleans Press, 2011), and Pacific Standard Time (Ugly Duckling Press, 2016). He is the editor and publisher of Blue Press Books and has also written a literary history on the poets who lived in Bolinas during the 1970s. Born and raised in Venice, CA, Opstedal currently lives in Santa Cruz.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Fashion blogger Erin Miller: Boho, chic, and edgy

“It is so rewarding to see people recreate one of my portraits”
Next Article

How Otay changed, secret TJ gardens, Mission Valley's future

San Diego State's Paseo project, building a Rancho Santa Fe mansion, downtown high rises never stop
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close