California, San Francisco, Tina Gina Chang discussed on The Slowdown

The Slowdown
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Before we begin i'm excited to share that you'll be hearing to new voices on the slowdown starting next week. Poets tina gina chang and brenda shaughnessy will be stepping in for me for a few weeks sharing their favorite poems and unique perspectives. I'm excited to hear what they choose and i'll be back with you soon. <music> i'm tracy k smith and this is the slowdown <music> my my family moved to northern california in nineteen seventy five and that's the california that i love it was quiet. There were hills and fields orchards along the roadsides places where you could come upon horses that would saunter up and winning it you across a low fence. It's from our suburban neighborhood. The sounds of nearby interstate eighty were like a gentle ongoing whisper. There's always been wealth in california but back then wealth was land at the end of my dad's life the woman he he lived with us to tell stories of growing up on a dairy farm in downtown san francisco in a neighborhood once known as cow hollow now the wealth of the state is unmistakable and ostentation underwritten by tech industry billions south of san francisco. Go you can see neighborhoods where all the old houses have been bought razed and replaced with new mansions. It sometimes seems seems to my is at least that whole towns have been rebuilt almost from scratch when i visit the state what i see more than anything anything else is change and what i feel is nostalgia for the california of my childhood a bright dusty place that smells els when the wind is right like dried apricots when i read today's poem freeway to eighty by lorna disadvantages. I feel like i'm being spoken to by someone with a memory a lot like my own not only has she driven the very roads i once knew but like me the poem speaker once dreamt of escaping her hometown and winning access to all the world's bright seeming and faraway places places like the girl i once was the poem speaker also seems to know what it feels like to live looking over some kind and of social divide longing for admittance into places or circles not intended for people like her. Maybe what i long for. Most when i'm back in the state that was once my home is access to a version of myself that no longer exists. Maybe the real pang of witnessing such radical change is the feeling that my young self whatever has become of her would be long even less in this new california than she did. In the old freeway to eighty by lorna dee servant this las casas near the gray cannery nestled amid wild abrazos of climbing roses and man high red geraniums uh-huh are gone now. The freeway conceals it all beneath a raised scar but under the fake wind sounds of the open lanes in the abandoned lots below new grasses sprout wild mustard remembers old gardens. Come back stronger than they were. Her trees have been left standing in their yards. I'll body cook ghettos sarasota's nogales the heat does come here here with paper bags together greens espionage there the llagas yet above when i scramble over the wire fence that would have kept me <music> out once i wanted out wanted the rigid lanes to take me to a place without sun without the smell of tomatoes burning on swing shift in the greasy summer air. Maybe it's here in los gambles extraneous their stasi that we're l. Find it that part of me moan under like a corpse or a loose seed <music>. The slowdown is a production of american public media in partnership with the poetry foundation. They get a poem delivered to you. Daily go to slow down show dot org and sign up for our newsletter <music>.

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