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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

At Malibu (Prehistory Version)



Kowabunga! The amoeba was
Venusian burgers were sailing out
of broken windows
onto my plate. The Fantastic
Baggys were playing. Down on the corner

of Tubular Boulevard
and Transistor-in-the-Back-of-the-
Head Avenue,
near the approach
to the Gaping Maw Freeway,
the 6-to-8-plus
foot waves
were coming in like gangbusters
out back
of the Bar-B-Q Shack. Jan & Dean
and the Rip Chords
were playing on portables
in the All-Nite Board Shoppe;

chill were the shakes
and flat the tops.

File:Mercury Cougar (Orange Julep).JPG

A blue Merc cooked out of the light.

The cars were lined up
like igloos
in front of the Tastee Freeze.

Greasy smoke was
rising from the Taco
Bell, much as from
the La Brea Tar Pits.

Voices bubbled from
The ambient fumes.

File:USA tar bubble la brea CA.jpg

"I'm bugged at my old man."
"Trig pisses me off."

They were listening to
Danny & the Juniors
on incredible car radios
that picked up 1962.


Beyond the row of cars
three scraggly
condors perched
alert upon the branch
of McNabb's Cypress.

File:La Brea Tar Pits.jpg

One sloth trapped

in the pits
by the advancing Sabretooth;

two others watching his back.

Unable to escape from the asphalt,
wipe out, bones
of the unfortunate sloth
encased in the pit
to await the Perfect Wave.

File:Fuerteventura 2007 029.jpg

Going for the tube: photo by Gargoylepeni, 2006
1970 Mercury Cougar: photo by Bull-Doser, 2008
Tar bubble at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles: photo by Daniel Schwen, 2004
Making the drop: photo by Ljsurf, 2006
Rancho La Brea Tar Pool with fauna: Charles R. Knight, mural in the Hall of Man, American Museum, New York, 1921 (Jesse Earl Hyde Collection, Case Western Reserve University Dept. of Geological Sciences)
Wreck of the American Star (ex SS America), Aug. 21, 2007: photo by Michael Wünsch, 2007


George Mattingly said...


Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as? But then in my book, each and every wave is purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect. I am liking how I read this, you. I read such quite fast. Like a fast rhythmic beat of a drum. Don't ask me why! I said don't ask me why! It's the dancing of the waves isn't it? I am liking how you have set the scene, drawn the reader into the smell of such.

*whispers* what does 'Gnarly' mean? Is that rough or like?

billymills said...

As near to a perfect poem as I've read in ages. Admiration and jealousy in equal measures. I doff my hat.

TC said...

Ah, Bill, a keen eye you do have!

And a fine head of hair to boot.


I suspect George is one of those California beach dudes.

The things they say can often sound simple, but many layers of meaning are oft hid within those simple words.

I believe "gnarly" may have the following meanings, among others:

heavy, intense, difficult, challenging, risky;

chancey, dicey;

unpleasant, disgusting;

extraordinarily good (as in *dance*).

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...


Love the shots, the poems, the blue cheer!

I knew I would meet one day the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.

Go daddy go daddy go daddy go....

Ron said...

When I was growing up in Albany, the frat-oriented kids (student council types) were into surf music, but nobody at all had a woody (e.g. the old Packard station wagons with wood paneling, perfect for surfboards. For those, you had to go to Marin county. The folks I knew who had those were in fact part of the folk scene living around Van Damme's house boat in Richardson Bay.

TC said...


Ah... fantasy!

Could this be the perfect wave?

And as the world perishes on the Mayan/Nostradamus timeline in 2012, will it be to the tune of Misirlou?

TC said...


Right, no woodies for us Albanians. Actually I was in Chicago in the Woodie era. A very Unwoodie town. There was some rough and ready surf life in the Sixties in Bolinas, though, wonderfully over the top as might be expected. But still no Woodies. This long season of our Woodie deprivation must stop.

This Little Woodie by the Fantastic Baggys, for Ron

billymills said...

Yes Tom, that is indeed me in Tom's photostream. Kind of you to mention my hair and not my girth.

TC said...


They Might Be Giants!

(BTW for those who may have come in late on this deathless exchange, the link to the photo of the handsome and dashing Mr. Mills reading his poetry at the Sound Eye Festival appears in the comment thread on "As we go on living...", three posts below.)

Annie said...

First car I remember was a '49 Ford woody, just like this one (except for the stickers and board on top).
Best of all was the way the backseat didn't go all the way to the frame on one side, leaving a small ramp over the wheel well for a future grommet to scamper up and over into the "back back" or cargo area. Then once stationed prone, would beg Mom to "drive crazy" down Alta Vista Drive, sending us rolling around like marbles in a
Band-Aid box, laughing hysterically.
(Be the first to spot all the anachronisms and win a t-shirt!!: )

wtf said...

you don't go left at malibu, dude.

TC said...


And what a wonderful Woody that is.

In return, here, for your backseat pleasure in careening down memory lane, are a few spare rubber grommets


Thanks for the directions. I tend to turn south at the Mesozoic and hope for a kindly climate change before it's too late.