To chase unrefined gold
You'll have to Work and dig up
Maybe one day before you grow old
You"ll find some stones or old cup
Maybe some old dinosaurs bones
Or antiques buried beneath the earth
Oh the Dead, named in solemn tones
Oh how sad if this is our faith
How worthless then are our riches?
How useful then is the man of God
And the sad eulogy he preaches
Words about you, dead, not real word
From you, heard by many people
The dearly beloved you left behind
Those left here to die in the struggle.
Of whom no one else cares to mind.
Call them the real goldrush victims
Who will never see an ounce of gold
Only the shinny and valuable items
Secured in big vaults yet to behold.
Who are the real victims?
the walls of inside passage
look the same
from sound to straight
tugs and plugs
dot the coastline
as the quartermaster rolls
giving time for evening glare
pods are in sequence
as the high tail smashes
and jaws at the krill
white bellies and sea cows
bob and weave
as bow heads glide
over haida gwaii
northern lights dance
and tlingit chant
as the tide settles softly
on savory shores
their getting hungry in hoonah
as the blue back and beating drums
mark the life blood of the sea
and sitka spruce
surround the cook house
ravens and tinhorns
man the scullery
kerosene lamps flicker
as clam shells roast
on open flames
on pebbled sand
in the harbor of souls
where ships set sail
on might and mass
into the steady winds
of the golden skies
ice fields (to the north)
of kryptonite blue
cutting hills at
a glacial pace
above the snowline
craft a hidden trade
in kodiak bowl
on a dead horse trail
in search of gold
the holy grail
You called me golden
Like, perhaps, I could be a California river.
But I, with my hooded eyes, never thought
I was soaked in sunlight or shimmering in wealth
Until I found you sifting through me
Marveling at a beauty I cannot see:
Telling how the sun makes me sparkle,
Bragging about the curve of my body through the hills.
The more you boasted, the more came to see
And now I know I am that swollen western stream,
A run of water muddied by your boots,
Scattered with pebbles of treasure
Winding south with the current down to the sea.
I am that western vein because I know
I give more than I take, and I know
I could never stick around for long.
You're like the others
Who held me in a pan and
Walked away with all I could give them.
She was called the queen of the night life
Ruling the district of bright light
Where wealth and beauty was well rife
She had the worst kind of man in her sight
Her fortune was all he desired
He had another woman on the side
And for this the gun shots were fired
In a duel that's heard of worldwide
He felt oh so mighty proud
As he watched them fight for his hand
They pulled guns in front of a big crowd
But it didn't go as it was planned
Instead of one madam left as a winner
A bullet grazed his own throat
The punishment for being a sinner
Who failed to one woman devote
Mattie Silks was a madam who was in the first female duel in the wild west. She accidently shot the man they dueled about.
We have let go of our frantic lust
for the shiny metal in the Sacramento hills.
It was hard for my grandfather,
in coming west on horse and with wagon,
dragging a family across the pimpled skin
of the young land, to help John Sutter
build his new empire.
He then found that his dream of good land
for ranching was subverted with easy gold.
Grandfather’s first home on the bank of the river:
a tule hut, or grass hut, left behind by
Mi-wuk Indians, who wandered with
the elk and circulated with the
wonderment of passing stars;
no regard for what shined beneath them.
It’s in the luring poems and the stories that the
old California adventure comes back to us.
No one longer builds much with grass,
and cannot so easily pick out fortunes
by following the earth’s deep cracks.
Some would walk away from jobs and cities,
bulging packs strapped on shoulders,
and head up through the openings
and narrowings of the valleys,
and into the foothills of the Sierras.
Camp beside ****** trout holes
and dip into the riffled water
at the edge of perfect green mirrors:
to find what is precious and become
free from the cycle of the frantic lust.
— The End —