Rhythms: To Santa Barbara with Love

Credit: Appearances II. LJ Frank, Artist

by LJ Frank


hidden shoals and sandbars

somewhere on the Eastern coast

the Atlantic waters warming

a memory shape shifts into a seagull

that glides above the ocean’s spume

while a breeze blows inland

jelly fish wash ashore

their sting hidden

like a hypothermic needle

mixed in with the seaweed

while flotsam drifts in the surf

and a voice in the distance calls

I turn to look

perhaps it was an auditory illusion

it was then I realized

the Sacred Space is on a mountain side

overlooking the Pacific Ocean


but where are you Luis Buñuel

only a surrealist filmmaker truly understands

a post-modern eclectic metaphor

I surmised

watching a predator with a fin

 knowing capitalism is a form of cannibalism

the body feeds on itself 

does everything come down to completion

alas, no one is too young or too old to be eaten

while thinking they were the diners at the table

until it was too late


the ambiguity of conscience

is an invaluable credit card

filled with artificial intelligence

strangers know where I am

an international bank aching for an act

the controller of my debt in control

what else is there to lose


so, breathing in visions of palms

and a calm sea

I ventured to my initialized coupe

with its scars, dents, and bruises

and with deliberation opened the door

for doors have many meanings

and slid beneath the steering wheel –

my trek towards the Interstate begins

through a throng of sweaty people

mercenary soldiers of passion

at least for the day at hand

Bill of Rights auditors looking

for a betrayal to their cause

to justify their existence

with a feeling of entitlement  

a jingoism makeover

an talk radio mumbles and shouts 

deconstructing reality is seductive

and the shoreline of taste fades

a rising tide swamps the allegory   

and nature baptizes from a hallowed faucet

anxious to make a dollar

cynicism is unhealthy a social media states

and bleed through reality is no longer a sin

so, I drive chanting OM

stirrings of a forgotten smile

somewhere in the windscape of the mind


I-40 westbound

with Santa Barbara in my head

where a Mediterranean climate fills the air

a temple bell rings in self-awareness

and La Casa de Maria

blesses a Santa Ynez mountain

and the monastery of my heart weeps

of what might be true or not

the bewildered cling to trust

as the sun melts the asphalt

my fingers turn the channel to off

with the breaking news in the brain

I listen to the music of my soul

and half-way through the journey

past fields of incorporated corn

evangelicals sing praises

while the Gospelers of Wealth

secure donations in the high desert

to add to their phallic pleasures

vaginas not withstanding

while another soul dies of a misappropriated hunger


on an out of tune guitar

and another barbed wire retreat

obliterates the meaning of love

for those who were born

in the wrong time and place


and so, I begin to wonder

was Santa Barbara a state of mind

 for my wallet doesn’t match

the expense of their local charm

yet, my eyes stare at the horizon

a thought begets a thought

is it still there as I remember  

a portal to to the sacred space

or is it part of my imagination

departed from years ago

and now perhaps

just a haunting fantasy revealed

somewhere between a dream and waking up.