Listen. Or download the audio MP3
at KQED’s ‘The California Report’
WE JUNE BUGS JAZZ JUNE, TOO
â€śâ€¦ We // Jazz June. We / Die soon.â€ť
— Gwendolyn Brooks
They tell me MĂ©xico* was still in charge
of San Francisco Bay when Francis Drake
reached shore in 1579. At-large,
heâ€™d sailed enough around the world to make
his oceanic claim: New Albion —
as he renames the turf where he anchors
his ship, the Golden Hind — would from nigh on
be Englandâ€™s. Crown the seaman, crown the bankers.
June 17th, the date of Drakeâ€™s land grab,
melts to Sonoma, June 1846.
One grizzly mob displays its own Bear Flag.
One star declares how they were going to fix
the Mexican dilemma — way back then,
before they knew a thing about June bugs,
before I hatched, before why mixed with when
in history and trivia. No hugs,
no love lost: Pomo, Yurok, Shasta, Modoc,
Miwok, Wappo, Wintun, Maidu,Â — tribes
and diatribes the earth remembers. So what?
Tree-fed, a ten-lined June beetle survives
big-time on Junes like these. I know I do.
June Lake, June Gloom — we June bugs jazz June, too.
— Al Young
* Enthroned in MĂ©xico, Spain (New Spain) was actually ruling California by 1579. But how many June bugs know this?
Mexican Royalist flagÂ | Sir Francis Drake
The original Bear FlagÂ | Modoc native
June Lake facing Sierra crest