Drinks at the Last Cafe Part V

Wasted hills, as if the apocalypse had arrivedDrinks at the Last Cafe, a dystopic poem
ahead of time – swept through
stranding the survivors: rocks, dried creeks,
chunks of asphalt road
haphazardly fitted together
like a jigsaw puzzle no one cared to finish
because the final picture wasn’t very compelling

No, he squinted against the big savage sky,
the blue washed out to faded denim
I think it always looked like this.

The rails blew
scattering Goblins like rubber toys.
Sam pushed the girl behind him
They were too close to the explosions, but not the target
the Goblins muttered and gathered fruit and baskets
and determinedly marched forward.

With a whoop copied from old films
the terror gang roared in throwing
more hard explosions into the crowd,
the girl and Sam hid among the dust and chaos
down, down, Sam hissed, reached for her hat.

The Drummer recognized her hat and distracted
With blown out parts of cucumbers and zucchini
Look here! The Drummer patted down the dead:
gold shavings, lumps of coal
he hefted a hand size lump – wasn’t there a story about this too?

Hey, a brother cut off a goblin head and pulled off a necklace.
did you hear the one about the people on the boat?
What about the boat?
They sailed for three hours then ship wrecked and never got off
The point? The Drummer asked. He knew Legends always had a point.

Don’t get on a boat. He laughed and twirled the necklace
Un-cut stones glittered in the setting sun.
Who would buy?
The Drummer shrugged and absently cut off a hand

Bring out your dead
Bring out your dead
But there were no grocery carts for the Goblins.

The Florida exodus was not working out.
Roads did not accommodate wheels, the carts
ditched along with 15 pounds of dried soup, a gallon of mayonnaise
Enterprising goblins snatched up products
and sold them again at the trail head.
It will be fine, they assured the new travelers
Each group weaker than before.
Buy, buy, buy
You will need all this mustard, cereal, peanut butter

The refugees were wiped out by a hurricane.
We knew that, the corporation advertised
How do you feel now?
1) deluged
2) dehydrated
3) disgruntled
4) dead

Fantasies hugged the left coast, no where else to go
but the grey pacific
dreams swirled around in the tide
the directors came to shore and pick up the remains like driftwood
and captured them back onto film and computers.

Yeah, yeah, the hunched man emerged from the bed of a truck
he eyed the girl.
Sam shook his head.
I just want to hear the stories, the old man insisted.
Tell me yours, she gestured to their fire
and I’ll tell you mine.

At the Timeless Tavern
A young man grinned, his teeth knocked out
a badge of terror gang encounters
Ignored the girl. You were a Letter Man.
Sam nodded. For a time he helped the cause
he could change Terrorists to Freedom Fighters
re purpose Hackers to Liberators.
Angry to Righteous; we fight for you.

It was merely outrage and opportunity.
Just a historic confluence of Anger and Talent.
It’s not like the peasants weren’t armed.
It’s not like they couldn’t read a bus schedule
they stole into the heart of the beast
the city of walls, all breached
whole collections of CEOs disappeared in seconds
gold parachutes do not open quickly
when thrown from the highest floor.

It was a good moment, it was a glorious moment
then the tide receded
leaving beached cities, gasping for air and temporary assistance.
Too big to fail
Except the most neglected
were the most angry
and in the end – they shattered the sky
With old plutonium and new resentment.

She threw a handful of dust
the grit blew away like starlings
Fear into flying

Drinks at the Last Cafe – Part I

Some took pictures with damaged phonesDrinks at the Last Cafe, a dystopic poem
buildings flayed alive
collapsing away from the center
A pattern of worn dominoes hit by an angry child

You had to be quick of course, to see the photos
the cities that became just place names overnight
A rescued laptop hooked to a generator with a minute and a half of charge left
one minute on a rogue site
thirty seconds before the corporation shut it down.

It’s not true that we all died.

She met him right after.
Her parents stayed dead in the back of the dank theater
she was too slow when the carts came by
Bring out your dead.
Tired of rat
she dressed in leg warmers and a top hat
picked her way to the Last Cafe In The City

Call me Sam
he huddled over a beer
smoked his last.
Alone? Worried about the Goblins?

It was always so dark in the alley behind the theater where her mother worked.
It was difficult to imagine how that hard light
penetrated so deep between the V of black vertiginous buildings
the flash of white puncturing the small TV

the children stopped chanting
Eat your Rat
It’s Low in Fat
the terror gangs stopped shooting
didn’t want to do the other side any favors.

She knew she couldn’t stay another day.
Sam finished his beer. How old?
Fifteen
Shit, thought you were 18
They all want me to be 18
We do he agreed.
He helped her order everything that was left.

California, he announced to her and the empty dishes
Sam unfolded a large map, a complex origami project.
This goes back to when it was terribly normal
to drive forever, cars blackened the country
Like buffalo –

It will take a few seasons, he cautioned
Gold Coast, Swimming Pools, Movie Stars
South is faster, you sure?
She knew about seasons – swimsuit season, flu season

He scooped up a computer, three loaves of hard bread
and the girl: top hat, leg warmers and a pink tutu

Once they cleared the domino buildings
the sun, a basketball orange suspended mid-dribble
on an intractable asphalt sky
motioned them to follow its everyday death.

They encountered others – anyone with only a few things
to carry, escaped the quickest
some survived, although they didn’t know it at the time
traveling west served as a last act of defiance.

She told Sam stories
to fill in the silent trudging towards the flaming sun
how she felt trapped between buildings
that squeezed daylight into switch blades of light

the Goblins yelled from the shadows
back and forth, trading a persimmon for an apple
Buy, buy, buy
Don’t be afraid her mother ordered
but don’t eat.

hand size strawberries,
cantaloupes the size of her head
buy buy buy the Goblins
dressed in same kind of clothes and shoes
as she –
Her mother
wore fantastically high platform boots
swayed from booth to booth in her short dress
An uncertain tulip, the stalk too weak to hold up the head

buy buy buy.
Computers glowed at the stalls; displaying web sites with stories,
tiny children held up gigantic strawberries
grapes, bananas, it’s all good, grinned the Goblins,
all organic. Natural. Certified.

No, no we will find the cans. Her mother said
dragging the girl from the fruit.
We’ll find the kind already
chopped up into bite size
bits and pieces, stored in aluminum recycle, reuse, reduce
they pushed the cans home in metal carts with broken wheels.

now the metal carts are filled with bodies.
Bring out your dead.
Did they eat the fruit, the dead?
By the time she knew, it didn’t matter
and the Goblin market was gone.

Blast Away Fat
Her mother read the article out loud every night.
Her mother’s arms
were held together in the middle
by a knob of bone.
The camera adds ten pounds; she tapped at the cover of Glamour
The girl wondered if mother would look better
if she held a camera up between them.

Burnt out days. Sam muttered.
the poets are always right.
It just takes time.

Continued next week.  Subscribe!

Future Girls Book II

Future Gold cover

Future Gold

Jordan Ellert doesn’t believe in Time Travel. Except when it finally worked. One minute she’s ready for another Time Cult failure, the next she is blasted back to the California Gold Rush.  Everything she thought she knew is wrong:  she is not the only time traveler, the past is hard to alter, and falling in love while in the past is a very bad idea.

Can you really be the change you want to see in the world?

The second book in the Future Girls Trilogy, Future Run is set in the California Gold Country where the author grew up and knows first hand how difficult gold panning is  and why Jordan made other choices.  Mixing the past and the future, Future Gold is  a thrill ride on a rickety rollercoaster.

   Closeup half face portrait of girl

Future Girls

October 10, 2145: eighteen-year-old Charity Northquest’s whole future is ahead of her–and the future sucks.

October 11, 2145: she unexpectedly has a chance to fix it.

When her best friend is reported killed, but then re-appears the next day as an old woman, everything Charity has been taught is called into question. Even if she does not believe in time travel, she has little choice. So the ill-prepared Charity travels back to the mysterious and captivating 21st century where her single purpose of changing the future fades with the increasingly more urgent question of whether she can survive the past.

Where did Future Gold take place?

Nevada Theater, Nevada City, CANevada Theater

This is California’s oldest existing theater building, it opened in 1865 and hosted celebrities like Mark Twain, Emma Nevada and Jack London.  It closed in 1957 the same year my parents decided to move to Nevada City.  The theater re-opened again in 1968 and is still a lively working theater.

The dragon can be found floating through many a parade as well as making his annual  guest appearance at the Children’s Festival in Pioneer Park.

Yuba River

Future Gold, the Yuba RiverThe Yuba River and its forks were one of the more popular destinations for the gold miners who moved from the back-breaking, freezing gold panning methods to the more efficient and devastating hydraulic mining.  The practice was banned in 1884 following lawsuits by farmers who had been affected by the debris flows. Much of the debris left by the destruction of hydraulic mining remains as the Yuba Goldfields.

The large-scale mining with the extensive use of mercury lead to a contamination of a relative large area. By 2013 the contamination is still detectable and will be so for an estimated time of more than 10,000 years, yes but we were wealthy at the moment.

The Clampers

From as official as these fellows get and special thank to Honorable Brother Al Shumate, M.D., ECV who has no idea he contributed to this content, here is a little about the popular Clampers:

No one knows what  E Clampus Vitus means.

The purpose of the society is still under debate: it’s either a  historical drinking society or a drinking historical society, the debate has never been solved. 

Members swear to take care of the widows and orphans — especially the widows.
All members are officers and all officers are of equal indignity.

Clampers in a Nevada City ParadeThat’s as good as it gets, as no one who bothers to attend   meetings is in any condition to take minutes, and no one in attendance can remember  what happened during the meeting.    But they give good parade.  My dad was a member.

From http://www.yerbabuena1.com/history.htm

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