Sunday, February 19, 2012

POEM: Jones Beach

Jones Beach

The Neptune calm
deceived the children.
It pushed green foam
like rushing lava
lapping white
on fresh black cement
of beachhead.

We ran from stealthy
water, with lips chilled
blue as crab claws
evading waves,
making the sand boil
from below.
We’d know to hunt
for clams then, or pretend
it was the place
where mermaids lived.

Horizon ghosts
were just boats with secrets.
The smiling gulls
hung on wires
above trash cans.

The salt teeth of air
bit sandy bathing suits,
until everything itched.

The cold water was foreign
Picking at aching muscles,
our skin was as tight
as singing kite string.

The boats grazed smooth
across the flat line
they pulsed with a snail
glide, these tankers
that were nameless shadows,
like empty shells we’d
stuff in our pockets
for display later on
on our bookshelves at home.

The tide, like oil,
snuck up on the dry sand,
bleached white from the sun
Then carried things off
to blue-black waves
that carried off names
of those who’d been pulled
into the rip tide,
like the bottles we stuffed
with our secret notes
& throw out into
A blind sea.

We hoped to make contact
with some stranger
who didn’t know the language
only the bottles were tossed ashore
by a wave just a mile
down the road, near the shadowy
jetty, slickened from
seaweed, expelled
by a lonely ocean,
where, picked up as trash,
they were thrown away
without a second thought.