– Claudia Christensen Garcia
I was drawn to a dense patch, hillside,
blanketed in tufts of shin-high grass,
I watch life unfold around me:
A creeper up an oak trunk –
a crow startles and takes off.
Flattening blades for a body, I see and hear woodpeckers.
I listen to the Amsels and the case I’ve cracked
about their thrush behavior and sounds.
A mouse moves through the tufts— center front and exit stage right.
There is a narrow animal trail through the blades,
traversing up and across the gentle slope.
For minutes I am focused watching the grass move,
distinguishing residual raindrops from the rodent.
Two red squirrels, ear tufts on their heads,
assuming their positions in this bowl-shaped land.
Will wait for the sky to clear again,
the dappled light to return.
But when it does,
am hesitant to move on,
knowing an entire day of events will take place
at this very spot.
Two beers more
I said in a language that started as my own.
My accent is guessed to be French and I grin.
That a culture not your own is more of a compliment than the truth.
I know this place smells different,
but I couldn’t tell you how.
The people address you as family,
and tell you stories of theirs.
to think I can choose where I belong,
and visit the places,
where some just do.
The native plants here are tropical,
(assuming I’ve categorized them right).
They say it’s haze (not pollution),
and after three times said I’ll have to accept it.
It’s always been hard for me
to accept what I’m told
without knowing it for myself.
I should trust the collective intelligence,
save myself the effort,
of taking in the whole world’s knowledge.
Yet here I am, skeptical,
that others aren’t questioning as much as I would,
not knowing the foundation they base their knowledge off of.
It seems we have a lot of assumptions,about where a palm grows.
If this is a desert,
why is there a golf course,
or a pool beside the beach?
These blooms at night fill the air,
And inhalations are a treat.
I forget it’s hot when there’s a breeze.
Free boxes were novel for my friends from the Bay.
Is it so gentrified,
no one is giving anything away for free anymore?
Walking the streets back from the bakeries where I fell in love with Mohn,
past boxes where anonymous people have left their discarded items,
another distanced interaction
in this country whose voices on public transit are silent,
save for the foreigners who either don’t care
or didn’t get the memo.
I walk past exquisite seed pods that warrant collection,
jogging a memory of my nature bi-curious friend.
My inner thoughts masculine-
but if woman is a word-
it more or less fits
with my floral top.
Maybe today will be a Saturday that I don’t go grocery shopping.
I do what I need to do
to sustain myself.
remembering to keep my chip up with confidence.
if eye contact or avoidance is what’s expected of me-
Wanting to feel secure in whichever I choose.
I rarely remember the faces of others who pass me.
It’s funny how you can be staring at something and still not see it happen.
Near the 101
Was it only on one single day
that we went through the rows of strawberries?
Not our fields, but lacking any guilt
it felt like a bounty.
I couldn’t find my way there now –
a valley of agriculture,
endless fields somewhere along the highway.
I don’t think we call them freeways.
The entrances + exits to turn into the neighborhood,
They called it Prunedale.
I liked the library in the strip mall.
These words are some of many wonderful results of our project Waving Bodies.
Find the other texts here.