Ranchero, Calfornia, 1850s
California Ranchero, 1850s
Journey West

I said
to Beale Street one year,
eyes hurting
from the painful contrast
of stark white on black -
dividing-lines with
no intervening warm colors.

West of the Mississippi
the Trail of Tears 
silent imitation
of the great river,
a different culture's Babylon
although dry now,
bones' dust
underneath retreating feet.

Trading riverbanks
for new beaches
I arrive in a land
of names in
an ancient language.
Some nights, Vallejo's ghost 
still silently rides  
his ancient ranchos,
sagebrush plains
now buried patiently
beneath the unending streets.

 Jon Bohrn (2002)


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