Never meant to return, which is not to say I didn’t have dreams about the redwoods with their fragrant pine needles or the Pacific Ocean.
Sometimes you can appreciate a good thing and still have too much of it—
Never considered that the whole affair would be a round trip ticket.
Unblemished blue skies, a temperate Mediterranean climate no end to great food with salad bars offering at least three different preparations of tofu and artisanal pizza heady with rosemary-flecked goat cheese.
I followed a string in reverse.
A free breakfast program.
A place of Beat Poets and City Lights.
A Bay Area earthquake.
A hot bed of progressive ideas fostered by listener-supported radio and media outlets that delved into the racist nature of our government with its willingness to sacrifice citizens upon a pyre of profits.
Maybe I needed to upset my neatly arranged apple cart.
Where the weather is well-behaved and the living easy.
Black Lives Mattered even though cops still shot black people dead in the street like anywhere else.
We all loved Bernie Sanders and hated Donald Trump.
Longshoremen had shut down the docks in 1934, the University of California at Berkeley still clinging to its Free Speech Movement patina.
So what if housing costs three or four times as much as it does anywhere else?
There are no discounts in Paradise.
The Bay Area didn’t have an Underground Railroad or Civil War.
Like I said, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
An era of hippies who piped love throughout the country and Black Panthers who introduced free medical clinics.
A refusal to believe earthquakes had anything to do with weather.
Easy enough if you live in a place where grocery shopping allows for fresh and organic grains, produce, poultry, and grass-fed beef.
Traffic across the the I-80 interchange proves it’s a fucking mess.
Take a number.
A culture that promotes self-health and distains those who rely upon FOX and Walmart for groceries.
If you haven’t yet converted to vegetarianism.
Home is where the heart is.
Every winter downpour promised a good ski season.
Summers were predictable, a grey sky that stripped off its sunblock to reveal a brilliant sapphire.
Spoilers remind Northern Californians about the Big One.
Jobs, weather, access to fresh food and enough racial and ethnic diversity to keep everyone a shade above honest.
An attitude expressed in the equation, “Go with the flow, man.”
The one caveat was our fog bank, otherwise known as “the air conditioner.”
I thought I had found love, but it was my labyrinth.
- Review of my poetry collection “Two Places” by Nina Serrano of Estuary Press.