Watermarks from a Night Spring

Embers of a partially burned ocean
In a box in a dank basement molting notes
A weathered surfer slowly descends the creaking

Worn stairs, dark swells yawning
Fish eyed and barnacle knuckled he climbs
Finds and opens the box, peers in, smells the pages

Runs salted fingers over the raised words
Rusting paper clips, chiseled letters in Courier font
Fading beached seagulls washing away in an incoming tide

Wired spiraled journaled waves
Bleaching across the page ink in water
Blistering sun burnt tattoos on old shivered skin

He can no longer read without bottled glasses
He chuckles, the tide receding washing scouring
White out rocks across words stuck buried in red tide pools

Breathing with a snorkel
The surfer leers over the smoldering sea
Takes up the seaweed soiled waxed manuscript

And paddles out of the basement
Walks down to the beach and what remains
Of the water and casts out the paper fish net

Into a set of scaling waves
Lit with a lustrous industrial moon
The waves curling letters in blue neon.

(Click any photo to view gallery)


  1. Beautiful word and imagery. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Lady Firebird.


  2. BABs says:

    I can see you coming down those rickety steps into your basement and opening the box. Thanks for the poem, I enjoyed every minute of taking that journey with you.


    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Barb!


  3. Joe Linker says:

    Hey, Ashen, thanks for reading. The manuscript, the paper, that was in the box in the basement, here dramatized or surrealized a bit, since what really happened is the haunting thing was tossed out in the recycling bin in the normal way. But then there was this fragmented dream of the ocean. And the two began to mix. But figuratively, once it’s tossed into the trash and picked up and gone, where does it really go, but back to the ocean where it came from. So there’s a box of manuscript papers molding in the basement. Better to get rid of it. At least I thought so at the time. Anyway, the paper molts, molding from humidity. Not to get all Edgar Allen Poe-ish about it, but something seems to be going on like some sort of subterranean midnight blues. Maybe the ocean should flood the basement, maybe that’s what happens, reclaiming its images, and it leaves a note: “If you want to surf, surf, but forget about putting it into words.” I don’t know. Will wait and see what the next tide washes up.


  4. Haunting images.
    … weathered surfer … what is released into the scaling waves?


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