Where I’m From

The Birthplace of Country Music

Photo by Austin Prock on Unsplash

Legend has it
where I’m from
is the birthplace of country music.
But if that’s not true,
at least we know
without a doubt,
Merle Haggard,
Buck Owens,
and Dwight Yoakam
created an electrical new twang
called the Bakersfield Sound.

How many of you
that sit and judge me
ever walked
the streets of Bakersfield?
That’s a line
by Dwight and Buck
from Streets of Bakersfield —
2:47 on YouTube,
you know you want to watch them
shimmy
and shine.

Country music
and a horse named Sassafras,
fireworks in the streets,
kids of all colors
sharing one school,
one city;
drive-in movie theater
named Crest
and a roller rink
named Skateland.
Greenfield Baseball Association
in the summer,
Kern County Fair
in the fall;
after winter hibernation,
Six Flags Magic Mountain
wasn’t far at all.

Tall yellow grass,
foxtails,
tumbleweeds;
dry San Joaquin Valley
surrounded by mountains:
Sierra Nevadas, Tehachapi and Temblor.
Grapes, almonds, alfalfa, and cotton:
farmland and orchards
for miles and miles
to see.

Manure wafting through the air
as Interstate 5 meets
the 99 North;
from gold
to oil
to agriculture:
a secret smelly treasure
many mistake
for an armpit.

Lightning storms,
foggy winters,
desert summers.
Hot air balloons
in the morning sky.
At night,
warm and magic:
vintage neon signs
downtown,
on the streets of Bakersfield.

All photos taken by the author, except the one with her in it — that was taken by her oldest friend from Bakersfield.

More on California:

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Lindsay with an a

Lindsay with an a

Yoga teacher, adventurer, storyteller happily based in California 🌼