Z: I think that I shall never see … a bulb-out as lovely as a tree.
Z: Or how about: I think that I shall never see … a marijuana dispensary?
She: I think that I shall never see … my husband writing poetry. What are you doing?
Z: Working on my application to be Santa Barbara’s next poet laureate. I’m local, I rhyme. It’s mine.
She: Ah, so the movie thing didn’t work out, the rock star thing didn’t work out, the city councilman thing didn’t work out, and this is where you go next — poet laureate?
Z: It pays a thousand bucks a year.
Z: It can’t be that hard. David Starkey did it and he still found time to teach classes, write books, host the Creative Community Show on TV, write and produce plays, and have enough kids to field his own revival of The Brady Bunch.
She: Aren’t you forgetting about the whole poetry writing requirement for the poet laureate position?
Z: That can’t be much of a roadblock. I know they chose Starkey just because he’s tall, so that you can see him from far away and behind podiums. I’ve got the tall thing nailed.
She: I still think there might be some poetry required.
Z: That’s what I’m working on. How about: Santa Barbara … it ain’t Budapesta … year-round sunshine … except at Fiesta?
She: I think you’d have better luck writing about something closer to your heart.
Z: Like: Baby, baby, where did our favorite restaurants and stores go?
She: I don’t think putting something in italics makes it a poem. I’m pretty sure it has to rhyme, at the very least.
Z: Oh Deano’s, oh Earthling, oh Lilypad, oh Frimples … You’ve taken my smile, you’ve taken my dimples … Our music was Morninglory, our Square was Picadilly … It’s the saddest story, that you’re gone willly-nilly.
She: Maybe no rhymes. And you left out Frog on a Banana Leaf Laughing.
Z: Built-in poetry with that one. I’m going to have to steal it.
She: It was a really cute clothing store back in the day.
Z: Frog on a Banana Leaf Laughing … I guess there was a problem with staffing.
She: I’m sorry that I mentioned the rhyme thing. It doesn’t all have to rhyme.
Z: Not all the time? Is that really a crime?
Z: I suppose I should come up with some more positive poems about Santa Barbara.
She: Maybe something about the beaches? The mountains? The weather?
Z: Yo, SB. You my city. You so pretty. You so So Cal that I dropped this little ditty.
She: I don’t think they’re looking for a rap laureate.
Z: Don’t dis my poetry slam. You’re being petty because you don’t understand my art. I think that proves that I’m a poet.
She: I think you should know that they expect you to be a little more polished. Part of the application process is showing them five published poems by Feb. 22.
Z: That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m way ahead of the pack. I think there are at least five publishable poems right in this column.
She: Other than the poem part, sure.
Z: Fine. Maybe Goleta is looking for a poet laureate, too, and hopefully they aren’t so picky.
She: What rhymes with Costco?
Z: While I like the direction you’re going, I have a much classier, more literary take.
She: I’m afraid to ask.
Z: Goleta, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Go-lee-ta …
She: Yes, dear.
— When She and Z aren’t waxing poetically about street signs — or Noozhawk’s new redesign — they can be reached at email@example.com.