Sunday Morning (III, II, I)

III
Oh my Zeus a girl Suze by Jove!
No god got involved the parents
the ruin of beauty and paradise
a coffee shop she a cupbearer
waitress to the young men new
to the surfboard of wet thought.
The waves roil with oily sludge
the kids play run from the blob
of the reclamation plant lazy
jets from lax prodding probing
the puffy foggy overcast clouds.
Bucketed fish guts and heads
on the pier odors the paradise
she comes to know and to love
evening gold and morning blue.

II
Why should she give it up to him?
What is love if he can come only
in noisy fantasy and nightmare?
Her dolphins play in their waves
charismatic and whole while he
came to end all frolic and family
for some abstract community
of musty prayer and the comfort
of wet sackcloth and cold ashes.
He who lived within herself
washed up on a desert beach
her desserts shells for a shelf
her soul he saved in a bottle
labeled I am not to drink in
letters from a foreign field.

I
Malaises of the nightgown and wait
for the coffee in the well worn bed
and the matted habit of a real cat
up in her window seat dome room
coalesce to repeat the profane
reminder of ritual dismission.
She dreams not and moves awake
with the eye of the storm encircled
by each newfangled catastrophe
as wealth darkens among Malibu
lights across Santa Monica Bay.
Against a rude screen true bugs
intrude like the kitchen roaches
scattering from the sudden light.
The day is like El Porto happy
with friends and popular songs
until the coming of the cat poop
cup up the stairs all the way
from the sway of bread and beer.

Sunday Morning (II, I)

II
Why should she give it up to him?
What is love if he can come only
in noisy fantasy and nightmare?
Her dolphins play in their waves
charismatic and whole while he
came to end all frolic and family
for some abstract community
of musty prayer and the comfort
of wet sackcloth and cold ashes.
He who lived within herself
washed up on a desert beach
her desserts shells for a shelf
her soul he saved in a bottle
labeled I am not to drink in
letters from a foreign field.

I
Malaises of the nightgown and wait
for the coffee in the well worn bed
and the matted habit of a real cat
up in her window seat dome room
coalesce to repeat the profane
reminder of ritual dismission.
She dreams not and moves awake
with the eye of the storm encircled
by each newfangled catastrophe
as wealth darkens among Malibu
lights across Santa Monica Bay.
Against a rude screen true bugs
intrude like the kitchen roaches
scattering from the sudden light.
The day is like El Porto happy
with friends and popular songs
until the coming of the cat poop
cup up the stairs all the way
from the sway of bread and beer.

A New Moon

The doctors of science
are replacing Earth’s moon
with an artificial one
made of rayon and crayon.

The new moon replaces
the old one deemed now
obsolete and in danger
of falling into the sea.

From Earth we’ll be able
to adjust the moon’s color
and position to improve
its influential benefits.

Several high speed elevators
attached to Earth’s tallest
peaks will allow tourists
easy access to hotels

bells and whistles
of space cultural
events and venues
and an Earth museum.

All About You

I was all on my own till I touched you
till I touched you I was all on my own
and you all alone until you touched
the sky above the ocean the clouds
pulled you from a dripping wet swim.

You liked to come first touch waiting
patiently fins by our sides politely
waiting for each other in the shadow
outside your watery cave in the cove
I without you and you without me.

All about you was all about me
and all about me was all about
you on our slow trip to elderly
crust when crest again you are
thine and I am mine all alone.

Out to sea it was all about you
fish and shells and boats above
while we waited for you and we
waited for me it was all about
you it was all sea creamy ocean.

This solmization of signs mused
no curled hair no moist kisses no
tattoos no clothes no perfumes
no cigarettes no booze no streets
no cars alone olive drab greys

sea greens and ocean blues
all about us surround sound
where water touches sky
all about you all about me
all about me all about you.

Nothing to be done nothing
to do much ado about you
about me about me about
you nothing to be done we
sit on our rocks and wait

for the final tidal coming
when you touch me and I
touch you first you then me
then the everblue sea the
ocean in our dew eye mist.

Rowboat

They said rowboat
lost untethered
with the ebb tide
one day late Fall.

She was to wait
but waded off
he back for the basket  
she in search of shells.

He forgot the sandwiches
in the car up the road
and the redundant bottle 
of purple pinot noir.

From the pier end
she fell hell bent
and got her into
the boat and off

waddled he oaring
she at the tiller
crossing the bay
to the picnic beach 

the old couple
coming years said
but the new owners
did not know them

said better keep
an eye out
not a good day 
for crossing the bar.

The Uncomfortable Rose of Refugio

We were kids from the city hunting snipes.
We didn’t know a rose from a hedgehog.
It was night and dark green swells
broke into laughing curling soup.
The tide was in but we had climbed
over the rocks and around
the Point and couldn’t get back.
We came to a cave in the cliffs
where we waited for the rose
to bloom like the moon out
over the cove, light spreading
across the ocean near and far.

Our rose was not sick, like Blake’s.
It wasn’t full of worms or covered
with aphids. Through the hot
summers and cold winters
its mild scent filled the cave.

At night we first felt then heard
the train coming and by the time
it crossed the trestle the whole
campground was awake waiting
for the shaking ground wave
to pass through.

Tent flies opened and a few folks
went out walking in the night.
The night did not howl.
The rose’s name was not
Germaine. Her bed was blue
not red, unkempt and unread,
saltish, seaweedy. We peeled
back the pearl petals and spent
the night on the sandy bed
in the cave as the tide ebbed
and even the waves fell asleep
in the uncomfortable silence.

Say It Isn’t So

Say it isn’t so
whisper in my ear
it’s so soon for you to go
stay young with me dear
don’t make me grow old

Say it isn’t so
blue eyes once so clear
freckles on your cheeks
falling disappear
your skin where soft as milk

I used to slip the clutch
voluptuous your lips
your grip so loose
say it isn’t so
that now you’ve let go

There is no instant
metamorphosis
when bliss gives way
to the fish flouncing
in the bucket on the pier

Say it isn’t so
we’re all out of bait
you can’t remember
our last happy date
the old commiserate

but must go down alone
say it isn’t so
the best time of the day
when your eyes close
peace comes a wave

bubbles at the shore
at the tideline we talk
unsure is it going out
or coming in
say it isn’t so

To the Lighthouse

It was not a real
lighthouse tho near
the ocean in Hermosa
and hornful of warns

Sunday afternoons free
we listened to hot jazz
players coming together
& going this way & that

And nights were cats
in the lot out back
came for scraps
a tuba sized cook

tossed evenings we
could afford only
one drink and out
for a walk on the pier

in a fog or clear breeze
round midnight round
about midnight waves
breaking into ivory

silk blouses blowing
below to the empty
beach behind us
and Pier Avenue

and to The Lighthouse
its beacon leading
light sinking in the must
of music business.



The Hottest Day

Looking about for something cool to read,
for today is scheduled to be the hottest day,
and I recalled Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha,”
its beginning lines:

“In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew up, the handsome son of the Brahman, the young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, son of a Brahman. The sun tanned his light shoulders by the banks of the river when bathing, performing the sacred ablutions, the sacred offerings. In the mango grove, shade poured into his black eyes, when playing as a boy, when his mother sang, when the sacred offerings were made, when his father, the scholar, taught him, when the wise men talked.”

Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse, 1922

Sounds cool, but Siddhartha,
as we now know,
had a long row to hoe
before attaining coolness.

Siddhartha might have been a member
of what Gertrude Stein named
“a lost generation”:

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever… The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose… The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits…. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.”

Ecclesiastes, King James Version

The wise men in my youth
would have near
a cool drinking beer
to go with the flow.

Honeydew beach
and rollicking surf
in the morning
chores in the afternoon
sit out with the family
in the evening
when the sun goes down
in the shade of the olive
tree, the Chinese Elm
and the three carob trees.

Meanwhile, waiting for rain,
Walt Whitman:

And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether changed,
and yet the same,
I descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own
origin, and make pure and beautify it;
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, wandering,
Reck’d or unreck’d. duly with love returns.)

The Voice of the Rain, “Sands at Seventy,” Walt Whitman

Of course, “the voice of the rain” in places today
is not so quiet and “soft-falling,”
but seems on the attack;
something absurd
has been disturbed.

Likewise, the blue sky
and this week’s yellow period
we for months awaited
comes down today
like a cast iron lid
where we sit
like a cake
rising
in an oven.

Drowning Amid Waves

That swimmer Stevie Smith mentioned
the one “not waving but drowning”
off Muscle Beach that cold morning
still the iron ones sweating
considered neither waving nor drowning
men but lifting they carried one another.

He was too far out for his cries
to be heard and from under their
umbrellas they waved back at him,
but he wasn’t waving, Stevie said,
he was drowning, but how did Stevie
know – ah! the lifeguard poet

who drowning waves not to be
saved but to say here I am
and goodbye, goodbye
my loves goodbye
I am too far out for you to hear this
this wave to all along the shoreline.

A Soul Astray

A drunken wind tonight
wild with whiskey delight
bloviator off the sea.

I was sitting on a whitecap
when the Angel Whale surfaced
lifting me in a spew of salt.

Gin and it shall blow for three
days the weatherman foretold
and the audience grew cold.

To each their own way
wandering opinions
like birds molting feathers.

Until naked a soul astray
thy neck a tower of ivory
thy ears porcelain shells

eyes periwinkles hair oily
seawrack washed ashore
an animal bush or tree.