Retro Surf Trip

At their usual spot,
the point at Refugio,
the surf was flat,
so they boogied down
in the cove,

the fronds of the palms
fat and glassy green,
the rocks at the edge
smooth with rust moss hair,
the nose of his board

thrust up and curling
and curling in the blue
air of smiling swells,
but still the waves
would not break

into hysterical laughter:
“There are no trees
on the sea,” she said,
holding a cream white
pink mophead hydrangea.

“You look for shade
under the cool curl,”
he said, recalling their first
time – as soon as he stood
he wiped out,

his board pushed in
with the soupy surf,
he wore no leash,
paddled out again,
and she lotioned in the sand.

Happy Bloomsday Interview at Queen Mob’s Tea House

Russell Bennetts, editor extraordinaire (Berfrois, Queen Mob’s Tea House), interviews the Prince of the Toads for his popular series “Poets Online Talking About Coffee.” Head on over for a cup and check it out.

Below: “The Dance Lesson,” 32 x 64, oil paint and oil pastel over acrylic:

Equanimity

When at last after the long ordeal,
betrothed to bed, full of ale and meal,
she knelt and put her face to the must
of the cedar chest red to her touch,

she lifted the lid, its hinges oiled true,
and out came do, I, know, and you.
She reached for forever which broke apart,
and with the letters she sewed her heart

and the lid closed on the squelching words
help, hero, laugh, and sword.
“Why me, Lord?” she asked. “Why pick
me to stick with equanimity? This a trick?”

Wreath

Raspberries and Baseball

Raspberries

A bowl of vanilla
ice cream
as white as the apple
of your eye.
Topped with
nine
lost in the wild
red
raspberries.
Game-Time Weather:
Fresh yellow of daisies, not the father orange of July, nor the old man red-orange of August, or still older bleached-orange of Fall,

not the infant one of March, but the teeming one of late Spring, teasing practical joker.

One day your scout
has your attention
then disappears
for a week, sends a postcard
from the Road.
“Wish you were here! The sun is a marshmallow on a stick in a fire on the beach, the wave mister going
‘Miss you!’”
The simple
raspberry
crumbling nodes.
Vestigial poem:
100 drupelets.
And here’s the pitch –
Tart fruit!
Swung on
and there’s a drive,
deep left center,
Davis at a gallop,
dives,
one hands it!
Warm,
right off
the green cane.

Photograph of Providence Urgent Care Waiting Room at Noon

Waiting room Center seat Back to window
Squeeze my fingers Under a bitter blanket Opposite counter
Vertigo Where? Merry-go-round stops.
Wall clock running backwards You seem to have crossed some divide, a distance between following expectations and surprising the reference books on shelves marked Must Remain in Reference Room: No Check Outs – For Scholars Only! Those were the days of craves Dizzy and Monk and Bird ears. We never worried ears, blood pressure, what gave rise to touch, an orange scarf, blue waterfall behind bridge.
Nurse station The nurse walks you to the scale, weighs you, takes yr blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. “The doctor will be with you shortly to hear yr confession,” and she leaves you alone to study the posters of the cross sectioned body pinned to the wall. The doctor knocks and comes in dressed in stole and stethoscope, just like on TV. “I only handle venial issues. Only a specialist can give absolution. But what good is freedom that leads to wild thoughts?”
Waiting Room Families and individuals. Names called. An ambulance arrives. Para-techs wheel in empty stretcher, disappear into sanctuary. A fire truck appears. Six firemen walk through waiting room like a Rubik’s Cube. Two men in Texas gear waltz across the lobby. A boy plays with the automatic door. His father. His sister figures it out. A yell and a sigh. A woman crumbles at the nurse’s counter, a Beckett ploy that gets her plenty of attention.
Valet Parking The sign says No Tips. I hand the parking attendant an Ace which he pockets. Good man! The drive home.
What the Doctor said She wanted to see my pocket notebook. “I knew you were dizzy as soon as I laid eyes on you sitting out in the lobby taking pictures of the patients, word pictures.” In the waiting room waiting continues. Kids run around and play games, laughing. A few people look worried. A couple of folks look hurt, or hurting. A father falls asleep.
 The Clinic Closes for the Day  A husband weeps. A mother changes a dirty diaper.

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.