The way you hang your prayers can be seen like a halcyon kiss; there are waves within each lifted question from mouth. Go there. Huddle beneath the secret lair of your sadness. Make a promise to your toes that you will be aware of them with each press into planet. Stop. Even when it is cold enough to claim your tongue, pause for the man huddled over during snowstorm because liquor stole his balance; help him to rise. You were that bent once. Promise. When the blood in your body feels spoiled due to the words which loiter in the drums of your ears, promise you will switch rooms. Promise to let go of the ones who never really loved you. The one who left before you could. Promise to still leave space in your musculature to let another in. Not everyone arrives from pain. Some understand the breaststroke enough to paddle out of it. Press palms together; listen to the ocean that exists when your skin meets. You never need another to validate this geography you create. Call this the expanse of sea that sees all of which you were and all of which you will be (once you are ready to get there).
knees beside your shoulder
breath in swallows
look up the word freckle in the dictionary
harmless brown patch
genetic like grass from soil
the bathtub grows arms
when body dips inside
smooth porcelain container
she is gulped oceans
sing me awake
turquoise & promises
nightlights & pillowcases
belt loops & pulled zippers
manatee falls in love with elephant
swim toward new species
hunt grey swim
your memory is of August trees
to be left or to leave
drunk off preserved time
Inside the ocean,within its constant movements, there is magic. Toes dig into crushed shells, algae and seaweed and perhaps the occasional fish, rocks and human waste: band-aids, cigarette carcasses, wrappers, plastic
I have aged out of Sunday newspaper comic strips and Saturday morning cartoons. I don’t even own a television anymore.
I have moved beyond dolls and playgrounds, though without a child I’m not even permitted to play on swingsets alone (due to pedophiles).
I have removed all my piercings, remain addicted only to coffee now, and no longer feel enticed to engage in evenings of debauchery (minus special occasions).
though decades gather, I still get lost on beaches, searching for shells, rocks and (if I’m really lucky) sea glass.
In purple bikini top and borrowed swim trunks, I kept adding to my hearty handful of varying-sized shells. Many were cracked, some disintegrated into my clumsy fingers, while others were remnants of something much larger once. I may have found three to four complete ones, though the smaller bits are just as illuminating and miraculous.
What is it about these shells that captivate me far more than jewelry, shoes, or baubles of any sort. They are homes. Homes to animals and housed by the ocean.
Am I a home? Home to my bones and housed by this earth?
Essentially, we humans are shells: variously hued, shaped in rippled skin that shakes and alters. We never stay still in these shapes. We’ve sharp angles and some of us are bigger than others, while some of us are/feel crushed…a former version of what we once were.
We can be found, if looked for.
Regardless, we exist.
And on this beach where shells, sand and ocean can be found, there are families. I take note of the French Canadians walking past, the lesbian couple visiting from upstate New York with matching haircuts, cargo pants, and t-shirts advertising what town we are in.
A man from Ottawa says, “I think I may take my shirt off and show off my frame.”
I paint a thick coating of sunscreen all over my skin, while I watch ladies pass me by wearing over-cooked flesh, freckled and burnt. I worry about their health; I worry about their worry.
For four days, I leave Brooklyn behind and wonder what waits for me. As I age, I ask myself what matters, what is needed, and what/who I want to grow old with. My staples in life have dwindled down to: coffee, books, notebook, extra fine black ink pilot pens, and places to walk which excite poems out of me. I’ve entertained thoughts of joining a commune (still researching these options) or filling up my favorite blue/green backpack with enough essentials and hiking my way toward a new land.
What/who is worth remaining for?
The shells I plucked from the ocean and sand wait for me to admire them once again in old jelly jar. I’m not quite ready to untwist that jar and let their scent out.
Perhaps I need to untwist myself first, allow for some real time, so the magic stuffed deep, deep inside can travel its way out of me.