Wave To Salinas

 

Diamond amid coal cinders, 

little city with large expectations, 

turns dreams the distance. 

When you pass by on 101 

wave to Salinas for me. 

 

Warrior-Vikings plant strawberries 

in the soiled sun, dirty 

fingernail freedom badges, 

tans darker than carbon. 

Pass by the salad bowl of the world 

seasoned with the river 

and wave to Salinas for me. 

 

Oh, land of the Esselen 

Santa Rita red clay dirt 

the Freemont flag-spiked Gabilan Mountains 

stagecoach settlement of the West 

salt marsh shaken by 1800s Chinese immigrants 

migrant Mexican field workers or 

Alisal district pickers; where 

churches bless crops and flocks— 

First Baptist and Presbyterian 

Mt. Nebo, Northminster, 

Sacred Hart, Madonna Del Sasso 

flower the skies or casserole pans 

for the hungry down on Soledad; where 

school children volunteer as 

little silver dollars in the night sky. 

At the lettuce cornrows growing in the dust, 

have a wave to Salinas for me. 

 

There, the grapes of wrath are stored 

in a wine cellar across from 

Fresh Express—meeting-place of the 

Chavez migrant movement; where 

Partners For Peace gather in solidarity 

and the NAACP marches the streets 

keeping Hartnell supplied with brilliance 

and thousands of poets, 

because in Salinas everyone is poetry, 

and poets know Roy’s on North Main 

had shakes that grew rosebuds in cheeks, 

back before the shadow-colored Central Park 

train faded away, when 

Fox Theatre was the Saturday nightcap moon 

looking over a bevy of Old Town shops at 

glimpses of people, our greatest, 

 

living vibrantly in a city of aggie warfare, 

the paramount of California landscape 

and the burning of a million souls. 

When you walk, barefoot, sole-exposed on the 

fire beneath our streets, 

wave to Salinas 

for me. 

© 2019 by J.B. Golden Group, LLC.

James B. Golden

Salinas Poet Laureate