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Seaweed Cabbage

Seaweed at Refugio_4135518072_m

What was that she said about the skin
on his hands and forearms,
seaweed cabbage
boiling on stove, “That looks bad.”

Blue dark wet orange oil damp oars drift awake
dawn dress coffee smoke brown falls upon brown
slow walk down curved sandy path to the water
empty nets sea grass tired boats in fresh tide wait.

Surf sound spooning shingling
smooth rocks growing on his arms
that opposite real rocks grow larger
with each receding tide.

He thinks about love water
work moon sleepy fog
legislated blather laughter
unrequited smiles.

He’s not an especially proud man
unless provoked unnecessarily.
He has a few books on a shelf
in the kitchen he touches evenings.

He thinks severity and frequency
as all men do capacity purpose
of hymns folk songs and surf music
and silence at the end of the path.

He’s no interests but cars and guitars
stars in her eyes sand on her skin salt hair
gloss on her fingernails white
daisies between her wiggling toes.

Wave after wave forgotten fishes
swim past her hands sleeved
sheathed knives
embraced recorded let go.

At the cannery he never did learn
to stand still that fisherman’s value
he no longer wanted his friend
who now fished a desk in Admin.

The smell of tar and turpentine as he cleaned her feet
shampoo that smelled like bubble gum
steel shavings and lead chips the plumber left behind
carob seeds rotting on fog wet boardwalk.

Ocean fish air and orange crabs on ice at wood wharf stalls
after shave and Brylcreem Saturday Night adjectives
bingo sock hop carnies and a new noun in town
cool morning breeze on an angel’s moonburned skin.

This is not an address.

 (‘`)
a
d
dress
a peach’s
dappled red
lit dimple dot
if you like green
leaves shading rust
rolling in the other way
round like a fuzzy bulb globe
plan draw lips over the peach skin
and rub speak into ink flesh until every
juice puckers sprinkle. Don’t handle or touch
this stone. Simply lean in and buss a not waltz,
like this, but first, take the pipe out of your mouth.

This is not a pipe
Why did Rene not close his p’s?

Peach Pipe
A preference for peaches over pipes as tastes change over time.

Oranges

On the Poem of Made and Unmade Beds

“Without grip or gripe, what bed thou hast, sleep in it, sleep, sleep, perchance to rest, for a sound bed is worth all the wine in France, all the beer in Germany, nay, all the ale in England.” (Polonius, The Collected Deleted Scenes of Shakespeare)

Introduction – the idea of the poem as an unmade bed:

Joe Linker on April 10, 2015 at 6:14 pm said
[in comment, having never heard of ‘My Bed’]:
But on the subject of Emin’s bed, which apparently last sold for $2.5 million, imagine a bed-selfie, and unmade at that, in such demand. But of course a made bed would never have fetched as much attention or money. People want to see unmade beds. In fairness, I suppose many poems are nothing more than unmade beds. But when did a poem, made or unmade, ever suck in $2.5 million in a single breath?
I may find myself later today attempting a bed poem.”

1: The Sonneteers

On the green barracks bunk,
a thin mattress on chain link
steel frame Army 30 foldable,
wrapped in ephemeral wool
as tight as a barnacle’s grip
against the red tide of sleep,
nothing personal save a letter
from Susan in the South Bay,
tossed into open foot locker,
touches the drab rolled socks,
no night light in the dull quiet
dark hall full of dunned boys,
roused by reveille’s mournful
made bed, hook up and wait.

2: The Makeshift Bed

“At Ease!
Thum that’s got ‘um, smoke ‘um.
In this next 30 minutes of instruction,
you will learn how to make a field bed.”

The sun crashed, and I climbed into the cab
of a deuce and a half, parked
in a field with a raw view
of the moon and the Pacific Ocean,
curled up in my fatigues
and fell asleep, my face to the canvas seat,
surrounded by coastal sage scrub
lit with a few Lord’s Candles.

3: The Water Bed

We drove down to Hermosa Beach and picked up one of the first
water beds, a giant surf mat. We took it home, put it on the floor
in the bedroom, and filled it with water from the garden hose
stuck through an open window. We went to sleep hushed
and soothed by one another’s jostle, canoeing over surf.
But early in the morning we awoke cold and colder.
The next day back at the water bed store, the guy told us,
“Yeah, you need a foam pad and a wood frame. If you sleep
on the bare mattress, you’ll wake up with hypothermia.”

4: The Money Bed

After the water bed experience,
whenever we needed a bed,
I made a frame out of 2×4’s,
upon which I nailed a sheet
of plywood, upon which we
plopped down the futon, a
bag of airy baffled cotton.

In bed, we are lodged in
one of two kinds of beds: one
easy to move, the other hard.
The hard ones cost much
more than the easy ones
and frequently must be
put asunder to move.

Tracey Emin’s “My Bed” now
takes several million dollars
to move, maybe so much
because the installers must
budge the bed without
disturbing the sleeper.
One might try making beds

for a living. People often seem
to prefer beds to poems.
Joyce sat in bed and wrote,
embedded in his spidery
notes and his family’s issues,
while McTeague’s Trina
slept solo on her bed of coins.

5: The Short-sheeted Bed

Some readers may feel
short-sheeted by this poem.
They probably would prefer
sleeping in their own bed
and writing their own poem.
Then again, someone may offer
forty winks for this poem.
Who will start the bidding?