Boom Town Pair of Poems: Bodie and Murphys, CA

I. Boom Town

Boom town gone bust,

                your glory days are gone.


The economy

                 changed, slowed,

                                           life ambles.


Excitement now

                 consists of spinning yarns

                                           of the old days


Into the willing ears

                 of tourists.


Nothing more to do here

                but sit

                                       and grow old and fat


Dreaming of the days that were;

               days before your time.



I. © 8-87;

I. & II. © 6-3-10 C.E. (Carl) Elias

Boom Town Back Story

 This poem was brought about by the lazy, dusty ambiance of old Murphys, California on one of my many travels through the Golden State (of which I am a native).


Murphys, CA

II. Ghost Town

Bodie's gone, decayed:

Tourists, Peeping-Toms at windows

Disturb private pasts.

II. © 6-87 C.E. Carl
© 6-2010 C.E. (Carl) Elias

Ghost Town Back Story

This was written on an 11 day trek through the state in the company of my geology classmates. It was a field lab class, and we all had a great time while learning much. Bodie, as you can see from the map below, is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere.

It is accessed via a 13-mile-drive on the original dirt road--a road that is so deep in dust that you must keep at least a football field's distance between yourself and the car ahead in order to see where you are going.

Unlike other parks, this one has not been at all restored. All that is happening is maintaining the buildings as they were, in what the Park Service calls, "A state of arrested decay." They will shore things up to keep them from collapsing, but are not retro-fitting or in any way rebuilding or fixing.

Most of the buildings are unsafe to enter, and the views must be had through the ancient, dirty windows. There are still bits of people's lives to be seen inside: tables, chairs, bedsprings, sometimes a bottle or can on a shelf. It is this eerie 'they just picked up and left' feeling that gave rise to the poem.

Bodie State Historic Park

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