. The Poet's Beat .

. The Poet's Beat .
"A working class citizen is apt to see this country for what it's worth... A miasma of interlocking variations on differing demographics and geographies unlike any other inhabited space in the world. The American Dream. The rolling footloose hills and the upstanding Apache badlands where criminals cut bread with priests and the children of Hollywood. I am no different. Yet I am still brazen enough to think that the world is a playground built by the rugged hands of a hard-working man in order that my fantasies be materialized." -- P.P. Vonnersdale

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sailing, She and I

A poem inspired by the waters of my homeland, where muddy inland canals give way to the salty browns, greens and blues of the Gulf of Mexico - a place of juxtaposition where palpable natural beauty resides next to floating beer cans and oil derricks. 



A faded coke can slips the crest discarded,
pushed along a bubbling waterline it surfs the bow wave,
waves goodbye behind us,
bobbing like a lost sailor in the green sea foam of our wake,
old rubber tire in the weeds,
mud flats,
dreary marsh trees ornamented with multi-colored specks of trash,
tossed high in those broken branches when the last hurricane came through,

The serpent canal widens and gulls appear,

Highway 314 ahead,
tall arch of the Avett Island bridge,
nesting swallows in the shaded understructure,
driftwood jammed against a concrete column,
piles of soapy sea foam,
Andy’s Dockside Bar and Grille,
waving diners in beer smiles,
greasy burgers on the breeze,
stronger than the smell of saltwater,
for a little while we can hear the fiddle band inside Andy’s,

Forge ahead,

onward to the sea,
sputtering engine propelling us through a brown current,
a chocolate soup she stirs with the tips of her fingers,
long and wet,
the drops forming ringlets of concentric circles like spiral galaxies,
she points out a great blue heron,
old man bird that calls out insults as it takes flight across the entrance into the bay,

The water becoming a choppy dark green,

oil derricks like sentinel towers on the horizon,
shrimp boats on patrol,
trailing long nets in a haze of squawking sea birds,
spiraling and spilling shit into the drink,
tiny production platform to starboard,
insignificant and outdated,
barnacles and a tangled web of fishing line adorn its lonely pipe,
a coffee-colored pelican sits lazily on its beacon light,
suspicious in its accusations,

She moves forward,

arches her back and lifts her face into the wind,
chewing on the sun,
her bare feet beneath her,
when the outboard is choked I can almost hear her breathing,
removing tethers,
our altar to the bright sky and the invisible stars pressing heavy beyond,
such glory,
the sail struggles, is born,
starched and brilliant white,
O’ glory,
what man has ever been more alive than when that sail catches the wind,
uncoils and is brought to life,
a voracious and hungry thing,
it rises,
man’s mystery,
to tame the currents of air,
bending the will of God himself on the wings of his holy dove,

The boat shutters like an animal beneath the whip,

settles into its momentum,
keels,
until we can see our broken faces in the passing waves,
a raw power driven by silence,
behind us the shoreline merges into simple shapes,
our trail washed away,
where we never were,
and cannot be followed,
marsh trees shimmer in the past,
falling off of the side of the world,
along with the floating memories of those days,

Out beyond the faded yellow towers home to oil workers in hard hats,

the bay has dissolved,
endless flat in every direction,
the sun high above and very soft,
sending arrow shafts of light into the blue depths,
she lets her hair fall over her shoulders,
long curly locks dancing,
her clothes come off and she poses on the deck,
naked curves outlined by a backdrop of crisp infinity,
spray on her skin,
a new constellation across her stomach,
staircase on her ribs,
running rigging,
wanton eyes raw with grim passion,
she is weightless and flying in the wind,
beyond the world,
that burden,
sea foam of salt and green, drifting somewhere else.

3.15.10

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