Thursday, September 10, 2009


(since this one carries some fairly localized / potentially obscure references, i'm using it as an excuse to fool around with hypertext poetry. i’m hoping this will lean more towards interesting than irritating. if not – well - there’s always next thursday.)

Me and Davey cruisin’ in his brother’s fifty-six
dual carbs out-duelin’ every chord from Brick by Brick
summer nights and city lights and candy-apple shine
tryin’ to capture something we could never quite define

up and down on Esplanade, hangin’ out our arms
rumble from that engine settin’ off the car alarms
ridin’ on a
ribbon where the world meets the beach
tryin’ to capture something always just beyond our reach

The girls along the sidewalk
with the high and
frozen hair
in their denim skirts and jackets
in the damp and salty air

and the guys were high on
lift kits
or on Ninjas, in Chevilles
slidin’ wasted down the
ice plant
that was hangin’ off the hills

there was music from the
pier bars
there was sand inside our shoes
and the surf just kept on rolling
and the longnecks and tattoos

Me and Davey cruisin’ in his brother’s fifty-six
dual carbs out-duelin’
Siouxsie Sioux, Fishbone and Styx
summer nights and Camel Lights and candy-apple shine
a couple hamstrung heroes with some
cans and knotted lines

up and down on Esplanade, a taco and some fries
rumble from that engine catchin’ Novas by surprise
ridin’ on a ribbon where the world meets the beach
tryin’ to find out something we could turn around and teach

I’d be smokin’ out the window
he’d be lookin’ for a race
grab the shifter like it bit him
get that look across his face

with a few bucks in our pockets
we had nowhere else to be
we’d drive over
Vincent Thomas
just to see what we could see

kinda funny, when you’re young
you never feel you’re gettin’ older
time just creeps up like the fall
every night’s a little colder

Me and Davey cruisin’ in his brother’s fifty-six
dual carbs out-duelin’ every tape that I could
summer nights and traffic lights and candy-apple shine
sittin’ at an intersection, waitin’ for a sign

up and down on Esplanade, trying to dodge the cops
rumble from that engine guaranteed a couple stops
ridin’ on a ribbon where the world meets the beach
and the sun slips in the water like a ripe and broken

After graduation
we were wild and fast and free
and every night was Esplanade
that Ford and Dave and me

then around September
all the kids went back to school;
Davey got a
union job,
I started cleanin’ pools

and the last time we went cruisin’
I don’t think we even spoke
all that empty ocean shinin’
like the moon fell down and broke

Me and Davey cruisin’ in his brother’s fifty-six
dual carbs out-duelin’ all the things we couldn’t fix
summer nights and
Miller Lites and candy-apple shine
on the run from something we could never quite define

up and down on Esplanade, to nowhere every night
rumble from that engine drowned out everything in sight
ridin’ on a ribbon where the world meets the beach
on the run from something always had us in its reach

up and down on Esplanade, the years just kinda pass -
you either find a place worth goin’
or you just
run outta gas.


Ryan said...


Julie said...

I agree with Ryan. Awesome!! This is the best hyperlink poem I've ever read. Seriously. It is. I had so much fun with it.

First I read the poem a couple of times without clicking the links to see how I would visualize it. Ordinarily, I bring my own experience to the reading of a poem, and my experience sometimes clouds what I "see" in another person's poem. But when I clicked your links, many of the pictures were similar to the way I visualized it. I'm not familiar with the area, but you describe the scene so beautifully that I can see (and feel) it like an insider.

I would LOVE to hear you read this, Joaquin! For that matter, I would love to hear you read any of your poems. Do you know how to add audio to your blog? If you ever do, I want to be the first in line to listen. Your voice is fantastic. Your work is full of soul. I love it to pieces (insert hyperlink for the words "to pieces" which mean very, very much).

Silly Girl said...

cool and funny
and that shiny red Ford made me smile...


Karen said...

I read this a couple of times last night then came back this morning for a third read but I still haven't clicked the links. To tell you the truth, I almost don't want to click them, in case they show me something very different from my own imaginings. For me, part of the beauty of reading is the mixture of my perceptions with the writer's intentions which creates an entirely new piece of art, so new that even the artist may no longer know it.

I want to "get" the poem, but I've always preferred print to visual media - books to movies, if you will - because the characters and settings I create from the words are preferable to those I watch. I think this says more about me than about the art form.

Having said that, I will also admit that having seen places, people, and objects helps me visualize and form other imaginings, so I am not discounting the importance of the visual.

Now...for the poem, like Julie, I can visualize this easily, even though a couple of the references I don't know. Your details are so clear to me that I see these guys, this street, this car, and the attitudes. I can even see them aging as they continue to cruise. People are the same no matter where you go, and I've seen these guys in various places on various streets.

Now, I'm off to check my imaginings against the links. Or not. I can't decide.

Karen said...

Back with another thought about the hyperlinks and more about my own contradictions than anything else. As you know, I always include a photo or illustration with my poems. Why? For the same reason you added hyperlinks, much for my high horse, huh? I need to get the courage to post only the poetry and see what happens.

Then another - I just read your poem and Julie's - two of the clearest painters in poetry. Word artists.

Mairi said...

I hate to risk disagreeing with Karen but I always want to know as much as possible what was in the poet's mind before I let my interpretation intrude. In the end we come to the same place - a hybrid of the poet's intention and my interpretation. I clicked on the links right away and thought they were great, especially the hair and the truck on steroid tires. It's the first I've ever heard of hyper link poetry though. I don't want to hear you read it I want to hear you sing it. You need to get a guitar and some torn up jeans. You can put Dime Bag on the same album.

Karen said...

So, back tonight and only clicked the links, which were a fun way to remember the narrative. Love the mile-high hair!

Jannie Funster said...

Joaquin, this made me cry.

This whole paragraph...

"and the last time we went cruisin’
I don’t think we even spoke
all that empty ocean shinin’
like the moon fell down and broke"

something about it just ripped my heart out for things remembered.

I LOVED the links!!!! Even tho it reminded me my hair would never do that big thing, boo hoo.

You are such a huge talent. And once again I thank you profusely for sharing it with us.

I think this could be a monster hit song, I am effing serious. MONSTER!!!!!

So lucky, California. That bridge. That sunset. What a cool ride.

Jannie Funster said...

Oh, and I saw STYX live, must'be been '84 '85. I think. On the year, I mean.

I'm sailing away... set an open course for the virgin sea...

Tongue Trip said...


K.Lawson Gilbert said...

i have come to expect spirited and gale force from you, but, oh, what a hoot and a half! loved, loved, loved the pictures of the places. those really gave me insight - and Dave and the Ford were both hot! lol - those rolled up jeans just screamed 80's. that trend is back, you know - very high fashion these days.

and then to the crux of the poem - all that wild fun back in the day turns to an uncomfortable silence, as the years pass and you grow apart in many ways. life, we nod.

great firmness of phrasing - and, as with all your personal narratives, you show us the paradoxes of life in your very significant words - and in your own glorious way.

joaquin carvel said...

ryan - thanks! good to hear from you.

julie - thank you! have you read many? i've only read a few - seems to be a pretty loosely defined / seldom used form - but thought it might be fun. to your question - i could link them but i don't have anywhere to host audio files. or a mic. i do think that reading (aloud) and writing are two distinct arts - performing vs. composition - i don't think my actual (speaking) voice is anything special, but you've got me thinking about it...

sg - glad it made you smile - if you think the photo was cool, you should've taken a ride in it. thank you!

karen - i agree that "part of the beauty of reading is the mixture of my perceptions with the writer's intentions" - i think it's kind of a partnership - i know i read like that, and part of the fun of being read is seeing how people connect in different ways to different things, or see things that i don't even see. and i think a reader's interpretation is as valid as an author's intention so long as both are being honest. that's kind of why i don't usually introduce or explain them and just throw them out there. i'd rather know what a poem meant to a reader than know a reader know what i meant. if that makes any sense. in any case - i wouldn't have been offended if you didn't click the links, but glad you did, even if only for the hair (a personal favorite). i really, really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

mari - thank you for your take on the flip side - and i think you're right, that we come to the same place - even though interpretation is part of what makes it poetry, knowing more almost always adds a layer and opens it up to some degree. sadly, the only thing i can play is the radio - though you wouldn't want to hear me sing it, i think it would be cool to hear it sung.

jannie - not being able to do big hair in texas must have been doubly tough - but who's laughing now? thanks for your kind words - know anybody who needs a lyricist? (i always thought bernie taupin had the coolest job, but i don't know any elton john-ish types.) lucky - by the time i was going to concerts dennis deyoung had gone solo - no paul mccartney, that guy.

tt - much appreciated. thanks for dropping in.

k - welcome back! and thank you - i had fun putting this one together. i guess i can live with rolled up jeans coming back as long as they're not acid-wash. "life, we nod." - that's it in 3 words - where a certain song or place can take you right back, but you feel like it was someone else's life.

Karen said...

Here's a little "secret" for you - my eldest daughter is one of the foremost "digital humanist scholars" in the US, maybe the world. She was on the forefront of archiving literary works in digital format, which involved linking everything in his works to everything else he ever thought of. (She'd be appalled at my description of digital scholarship and my calling her one of the formost scholars, but truth's the truth!) She'd also be appalled that I told you I prefer to form your poems in my head...

Karen said...

Sorry about the "in his works" with no antecedent. I had named the poet/artist she first worked on before I edited his name out. Oops.

joaquin carvel said...

karen - she'd probably be appalled, then, at the fact that i'd never heard of a digital humanist scholar - though now that i have, it makes perfect sense. anyway - let no one be appalled that you prefer to form these in your head - that's a compliment to me, and mostly why i post them - like you said, it can create an an entirely new piece of art, and that's a wonderful thing to be a part of.

Julie said...

Hi, Joaquin. To answer your question, I wouldn't say that I've read "tons" of hyperlink poems, but I've seen quite a few in the past year. Yours is definitely the best. (Shhh...don't tell the others I said that).

Yes, please do consider audio. Of course, I'm a chicken, because I doubt I'll ever add audio to my blog. But then again, I never thought I'd have a blog, so who knows. But I'd love to hear you read, dangit!

Catvibe said...

What an epic! And it took me back to days gone by, with melancholy longing! I clicked on a few hyperlinks, but I love it best just reading it.