FLYING AT FORTY – Poem by Erica Jong
You call me courageous, I who grew up gnawing on books, as some kids gnaw on bubble gum, who married disastrously not once but three times, yet have a lovely daughter, I would not undo for all the dope in California. Fear was my element, fear my contagion. I swam in it, till I became immune. The plane takes off, and I laugh aloud. Call me courageous. I am still alive.
ITS RAINING IN LOVE – Poem by Richard Brautigan
I don’t know what it is, but I distrust myself when I start to like a girl a lot. It makes me nervous. I don’t say the right things or perhaps I start to examine, evaluate, compute what I am saying. If I say, “Do you think it’s going to rain?” and she says, “I don’t know,” I start thinking: Does she really like me? In other words I get a little creepy. A friend of mine once said, “It’s twenty times better to be friends with someone than it is to be in love with them.” I think he’s right and besides, it’s raining somewhere, programming flowers and keeping snails happy. That’s all taken care of. But, if a girl likes me a lot, and starts getting real nervous, and suddenly begins asking me funny questions, and looks sad if I give the wrong answers, and she says things like, “Do you think it’s going to rain?” and I say, “It beats me,” and she says, “Oh,” and looks a little sad, at the clear blue California sky, I think: Thank God, it’s you, baby, this time instead of me.
A PROMISE TO CALIFORNIA – Poem by Walt Whitman
A Promise to California, Also to the great Pastoral Plains, and for Oregon. Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward you, to remain, to teach robust American love. For I know very well that I and robust love belong among you, inland, and along the Western Sea. For These States tend inland, and toward the Western Sea, and I will also.