Al Young title

WE JUNE BUGS JAZZ JUNE, TOO

Listen. Or download the audio MP3
at KQED’s ‘The California Report’

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WE JUNE BUGS JAZZ JUNE, TOO

“… We // Jazz June. We / Die soon.”
Gwendolyn Brooks

They tell me MĂ©xico* was still in charge
of San Francisco Bay when Francis Drake
reached shore in 1579. At-large,
he’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 England’s. Crown the seaman, crown the bankers.
June 17th, the date of Drake’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,  — 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

© 2012

* Enthroned in MĂ©xico, Spain (New Spain) was actually ruling California by 1579. But how many June bugs know this?

Mexican Royalist flag  | Sir Francis Drake
The original Bear Flag  | Modoc native
June Lake facing Sierra crest

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