A Vignette for the Roofless Poets of Santa Cruz
A dreamer, a romantic, a poet of the streets. This man comes from royalty, and yet he is completely unaware. He wears the guise of the great unwashed, and parades his private conversations for all of the West Side of Santa Cruz to hear. His sermons echo through the shops off of Mission Street, and if one stops to lend some change for bite to eat, or a sip to drink, his wisdom (welcomed or not) is bestowed upon them. King, as he has come to be called, sets an example for anyone teetering on the brink of sanity as the last great detective, and a truly empathetic craftsman.
His eye for detail is unmatched, as he sees beyond the outward aesthetics of the masses that surround them. He has the remarkable gift of finding a kindred spirit in the crowd, and immediately latching onto them with a distinct phrase that almost always begins with “you are.” To this blogger, he announced, “you are a romantic, lost in the sea of those who will inevitably try to drown you for your passions, and take from you the one thing you have to offer – your words.” He announced this without ever inquiring what it is I do in my spare time, or what my passions truly are. He never once made any reference to any specific event in my life, or knew so much as my name. However, in the spare instant I spared for him, to give him a quarter towards his cause and a cigarette for his troubles, he immediately knew.
In his poetry, he described me as a wordsmith, and my companion as a demonic Adonis. He declared the two of us had great gifts, and were able-bodied poets with yet untapped potential. He took his ideal of us and wove a tale closer to the truth than either of us had ever heard outside our own private conversations. He discussed a drive for lyricism, for epics, and for friendship. We smiled, shared a laugh, and agreed. The two of us, after all, were the best of friends. He also told us we have the best of glasses to view the world around us – the artistic lenses. I asked about the world around him.
He described the thrill of seeking out the shining auras in the masses that passed him by day in and day out. He spoke highly of all who would hear his words, saying they all were blessed with at the very least, the right set of ears. He self-embellished a bit, but seriously what monarch wouldn’t? After all, he stems from them, the monarchs that reside in his worldly home - the butterflies. They are his kin, spotted black on their orange wings. They take flight when the season allows them to. For King, that season is an open mind, and a willingness to hear his songs. These he sings, like the southern sea otter whose songs echo not far from his home. His mane and theirs bear similarities though he is far better at camouflage, as he emerges from his cocoon on lavish wings.
Bearing this in mind, few of us are rarely who we appear to be. There are deeper truths we keep buried and silent, only allowing them in thought to resonate through us. They are mere thoughts we hold onto as we walk the sullen streets of any town. The ocean breeze and offshore hum of crashing waves just help to keep them sealed with a smile. This is a lesson learned from King. He truly is a Monarch of Natural Bridges.
Eric Weinblatt is an author attending the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is a third-year student working on his BA in Modern Literature. He has a background in creative writing and contemporary fiction, and aspires to be an author in both print and digital mediums himself. He is currently working as an intern at Catamaran Literary Reader.