scott cameron

Lives
by Larry Burns

I live in Canyon Crest. It is a great place to walk if you have nowhere to go but up and down a bunch. Every day, I walk. It’s next to Sycamore Canyon, so there is a kind of sense to the name. I did visit that canyon, and I stood as close to the crest as I thought safe. It was less grand than my memory of the Grand Canyon. But I did see the ass-end of a quick coyote while I stood there. Which was grand.

Before this I rented in Orangecrest. It is a recent creature and I don’t know why that crest lost a cap but I do know they trucked off crates of oranges during its production. I planted an orange tree in my backyard, but it died too.

Before that I lived in Mockingbird Canyon. Truth be told, I hear way more mockingbirds now than I did then. Maybe I was just not as good a listener. Killdeer Canyon would make more sense. They were all over, and distinct because, when their nest is threatened, they lure predators away by flopping around feigning an injury.

From any angle, that was a big house. No matter how often I swept, new dirt blew through its cracks. It was dark at night, which meant I could stare into space as much as I wanted. If you ask an old person for directions to that old place, tell them you are looking for Woodcrest because they do not like the newer name. It was named by developers who spent too much money to build in Woodcrest.

Before that I bought my first home in Orangecrest. If you told me in 1995, that I would someday live in Woodcrest, Mockingbird Canyon, and Canyon Crest too, I would have responded: Where are these places and why haven’t I heard of them before?

PHOTO: “Atop Sycamore Canyon [California]” by Scott Cameron. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem recently while attending a poetry workshop through Facebook. I was thinking about what took me to the city of Riverside, California, in 1995, but I quickly realized I wanted to write about what I’d learned in each move around the city. Riverside is 52 square miles, so it has plenty of space to roam.

burns

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Larry Burns is a SoCal native. Most of his work takes elements of that geography and applies it to simple situations, providing plenty of room for the reader to create a particular meaning or emphasis. He believes that writing is a community effort, with the writer as the focal point; done in order to create a radiating outward of expression and description of the human condition. Beyond writing, he supports the writing community as a faculty member with University of Phoenix and as a founding member of Inlandia Institute. Previous works and works in progress can be found at www.larryburns.net.

PHOTO: The author off the coast of  Prince of Wales Island, Alaska (2012).