From Lake Cachuma to Santa Barbara

From Lake Cachuma to Santa Barbara

A Poem by kentuck14


The lake is blue water under a clear sky--
much darker than aquamarine--a liquid gem
circumscribed by gold and tan hills covered
in scrub oak, and dry, sun-parched grass,
the San Rafael Range shimmering in the east.  
It is here--on our way to Santa Barbara via
Highway 154--we rest at a picnic table
        under a large spreading tree.
Our actress daughter hams it up again
for the camera: she sits on a sawed-off utility
pole used as a traffic barrier--striking an
exaggerated pseudo-glamour pose--
as if it’s a 1930's steamer trunk , and she a
celebrity about to go to sea on the Cunard Line.
It’s up and over the San Ynez Mountains on
154 toward US 101 and Santa Barbara--
the road twisting, turning and plunging through
mountain cuts--my hands sweaty on the wheel
with acrophobia--fighting the crazy urge
to look out over the vast vista below--just to
punish myself for the weakness of my mind.

Finally into Santa Barbara and the Botanical
Gardens with a canyon trail filled with giant
rocks, western trees and exotic flora.
Strange that arranged nature should be so
alluring after passing through wild country!
The American traveler, sometimes likes his
adventure a bit controlled, and . . . paid for.
Ownership is everything in the land of the free!

© 2020 kentuck14

Author's Note

Another poem in my American Journey West series.

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Having gone to UCSB for 2 years, I am familiar with & love this very drive that you describe. I love your description of your daughter dancing on a stump -- your words as creative as her actions! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

Thanks Margie for your kind revue.
That acrophobia line got me... I completely identified with that description... I get that so bad now! Yes I used to jump out of airplanes and repel but now I get it so bad, I have a regular dream of sliding off the side of a hill while driving usually the night after driving for a lengthy time:) In truth it all started after 9/11 and seeing all of the people falling off the buildings I got nightmares from that and ever since I get acrophobia

Posted 3 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

Mine started as a young man . . . went up a long latter to do something on the house and it hit me s.. read more
Tom, you make this look very easy, but I know it isn't easy to condense experience in this way and also include an observational thread that resonates through the spirit of the work. I enjoy the way this is all tied up at the end with the idea of ownership and how we do like to make our mark and have the sense that we can claim things as our own. Twentieth century travel and now twenty-first century travel even more so offer the illusion that the earth itself is under human domination, but the earth can surprise and change all of our expectations instantaneously.

There's a kind of ominous feeling to the end here where the driver is sensing his own lack of control and then the segue into the idea of being owners of something so vast. What will follow. Ultimately, we know there's an end, but we do like to keep living the dream of immortality and dominance.

Really great imagery/scenery in this one. This collection could make a really nice poetry chapter book. I have enjoyed your travelogue thus far.

Posted 3 Years Ago


3 Years Ago

Practice, practice, practice . . . it's the only way I know. A lot of it is just finding y.. read more
it might be fun to go back to the 1930's
and find one of those celebrities ....get their autograph and take a picture with them.
more traveling in which your poetry takes us with you.

Posted 3 Years Ago


3 Years Ago

Thanks J . . . oh, for a time machine!!!!

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4 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on January 4, 2020
Last Updated on January 4, 2020



Lexington, KY

Started reading and writing poetry while in the Army many years ago. I picked up a book of poems by Leonard Cohen in a bookshop on Monterrey CA's Fisherman's Wharf and went on from there. I've had a n.. more..

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