Orange County

Orange County

A Poem by Thomas A. Morgan

I’ve walked through the orange groves that once were
Everything to the dusty-hot landowners down here.
I’ve listened to those boozy lost-and-found surfers
With vague sunset eyes tell me to hang loose.
I’ve seen bikinis take a walk along the lost coast
Southward to the Mexican joints to join a cerveza;
I’ve watched these same bikinis leave dumbly and
Red, cold and loud, reaching for the foggy night parties.
I’ve seen the Chinese walk in stoic forms, the man
In front of the woman, pondering something else;
I’ve been amazed to find that none of this was
Here forty years ago.

I’ve plunged into old Trabuco Road to the foothills
To where the hitching posts dry in the serious sun;
I’ve continued to where the skate punks, rangy
And just as serious, speak their own sense of urbanity.
I’ve heard the stillness—the nothingness—of the slopes
Near Saddleback Mountain that court the bright eagles.
I’ve waited for the light to change and have observed the
Armenian toughs growling whatever it is they say anciently;
I’ve smiled at the Mexican kid in the back of the van who
Waved a small Quetzalcoatl flag at me on the Day of the Dead.
I’ve been thrilled that all of this is part of their California too
Even if it continues to be lost.

I’ve marveled at a deer and her fawn crossing the highway
At dawn making toward the once-wilds of Aliso Viejo.
I’ve told this to a passing smiling old woman that I didn’t
Know but thought would care; she didn’t, not really.
I’ve been to the movies out here and I’ve seen films about
How lost people get when they get here too late to get it.
I’ve tried to believe it’s both hip and smart to be part of
This vast, vacant wash of Southern California in the spring;
I’ve even tried to imagine that those fools that build those
Ridiculously expensive motorcycles actually ride them.
I’m continuously amazed that not much has changed except
For the people these past forty or so years.

I’m open to listening to hear not to the hissing cars on
Alicia Parkway but the crazy-aroused springtime hawks;
I find it relaxing when there’s a moment’s peace—even in
A place like this where moments seem to last for days.
I wonder if that huge, hideous Ferris Wheel at the Spectrum
Is ever going to roll away—hopefully up to Anaheim.
I’ve never been to an Angels game but I do think they were
More interesting when they were the California Angels.
I haven’t panned for gold in the Golden State; I’ve only
Recently remembered that that was what started all this.
I’ve been amazed to find that none of this was
Here forty years ago.

© 2008 Thomas A. Morgan

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'I've heard the stillness - the nothingness of the slopes - Near Saddleback Mountains - that court the bright eagles'

There's a gamut of emotions in this poem: humour, cynicism, gentleness, doubt, amazement. It must be quite a place, says this Brit.

As with most if not all your poems, you create atmosphere, take the reader to the place and wrap him/her around with sights, smells and emotions. This poem is both nostalgic and excited - as if you're visiting old friends.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Great poem. I don't think most people know that Southern Ca, had tons of orange groves.
Your poem makes me think about growing up around here and what's its really like.
The mood to your poem is nostalgic and amazing. Thanks.

Posted 14 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on May 1, 2008


Thomas A. Morgan
Thomas A. Morgan

L.A., CA

Working on an epic poem called "California Variations". It'll be divided into at least six parts and will be totally free form. I'm pretty excited about it. But the writing--that's where I find mys.. more..


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