UCSC ran a contest to see who could write the "best" Ode to Santa Cruz. The winning ode would be read by Garisson Keillor during his appearance at the Santa Cruz Civic Center. The winning author was "well-known Santa Cruz visual artist" Douglas McClelland. Here is my entry followed by Laurie Agard's haiku response to my ode, followed by Faith Zack's entry, followed by the winning entry. Judge for yourself!
O, sleepy Italian fishing village! City on an elfland hill! Haven of the aging hippie, Harbor for the shell shocked Vet Asylum for the single mother, Shelter for the wrecked and battered Sanctuary for all seven genders, Resort for those with ample pocket Boardwalk, Harbor, Wharf, and Lighthouse Surf Museum and Natural Bridge! Tide pools, redwoods, and Mission Santa Cruz Lost Boys ride a Giant Dipper with the silent ZaSu Pitts Ever changing changeless time warp Protected timeless mediterranean bay Dolphins leap, otters roll, and Gray Whales spout We live on the lip of a mile deep trench! Labs Richter and Long Marine Human genome project completed here! New planets discovered, ancient fossils uncovered History of Consciousness Ph.D.s! Surf city slackers, scientists and skaters A crossing of saints where mountains meet sea Four twenty stoners, students and surfers Small town sensibility, global responsibility Pergolesi & Bookshop, Crepe Place & Coffee Roasting All collapse and rise again! The wrecking ball bounces off the Cooper House wall! Elementary schools close, Colleges sprout like mushrooms on the Hill O, ephemeral Mystery Spot!! Tourists flock to thee! Quakes, deficits, students, and time may change thy face Yet redwood, coaster, clock, and train All stand to remind us of times slow pace City of celebration and homeless defecation You gave us First Night, Last Night, and Take Back The Night Myth California and the Preying Mantis Brigade Crazy chaos theory Dripheads, Mr. Twister, and Umbrella Man The statue of Tom Scribner Stirs the lentil vegan pot with saw and bow A miracle! He cries real tears As "progressives" court Big Box chains Self declared inter-galactic port Your compassion flower Lampooned by late night standups Mocking the Mayor's free bags of bud Eastside, Westside, Town, and Gown Your Greenbelt rings them all From Zachary's to Zoccolis All of us stroll the mall Yea, let us don our wetsuits, pull the salt water taffy Stalk the wild morel we learned of at the fungus fair As costumed children greet the Monarch's return We celebrate daily the purple scarfed dancing lady that is Santa Cruz
Whitecaps on the bay: A broken signboard banging the wind of Ron's ode.
Whiz your bike up West Cliff, watch the sea otters dive Weave through couples and strollers, joggers and doggers Swing your hips to the drum circle vibe Whole grain, organic, earthy crunchy santa crustaceans Salute the sun on your sweaty yoga mats Sip your chai latte, watch the Umbrella man Promen-ambling up the mall
Santa Cruz, to honor you, with a rainbow of others I declare a mural -- in solidarity. Planting, writing, surfer facing the sea catching their own waves. wearing a full bore tool belt; The painting style is bold, rat gray pony tail. Rivera-like, colors clear, Unfinished dissertation edges crisp, but the pearly in hand -- he balances, Pacific light sweetens the diverse parts rampant on a green wave. redwoods, tourists in black socks, Tattoo of Gaia that bears screwtop wine bottles, the word "Mom" on his chest. pale slackers, bronzed shiatsists, His board, a riot of earth tones, owlish deans, and organic garlic-- bears the proud legend into a rare harmony. All gentled "En Plein Air." by an avant garde surfbeat, On the shore, strong women string band, folk song loop will be seen, gathering from an amp behind a tie-dyed screen.