Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Poem

Beach Comber

I’m a scavenger fisher collector

extremely picky picker
sea shells hunted inch by inch:
perfectly whole and unchipped
or so completely worn out (or in)
that they take on a whole new form
and a new identity

A passerby passes me by like me
looking down along the
line of flotsam and jetsam propelled handily onto the beach 
for us.
Window shopping not making a
committed selection.
I wonder if she, like me,
thinks of writing a poem as she walks
further and further away from her note pad.
Imagining that, like fragments of jelly fish
the words shimmer perfectly now but
may never be pieced together again
fragmented by interruptions like surf
sand, seaweed, sea shells, and syllables
competing for attention.
This is a day the Lord hath made for 
laughing curls of surf and sand (a zillion trillion pieces 
over millennia of ocean life 
and death beneath and all around me).
Who am I kidding? She wasn’t a poet.
She was an escape artist.
Pretending that the shells her eyes never even focused on
could mask the sadness in her mouth
(she never selected a single shell).

I know the solitary venture down the beach
the ambient, wondrous crushing waves
a personal Greek chorus for pain.
It echoes any sad tale you need to memorize
while planning your future escape from something
in your real life.

Am I an escape artist?
Carefully finding only the right sea shells
fragments worn into perfect trapezoids, triangles
and crescents – geometry redefining their
purpose from life to art. From one of many
to one of few from discarded
to chosen from overlooked to obsessed over.
Each perfect piece becoming an ornament
I create
for some future collector, selector, or
window shopper’s brief attention.
So much time and energy will surely
take me far from the worries and pressures of my daily grinding
Sure to be a perfect escape for an artist like me
for a poet like me.

I revel in the - slow - beach - walk -
the few perfect selections
the poem erupting from the journey the
whole new experience unlike any other
beach I’ve combed or man I’ve combed it with...
all wonderfully re-formed by life into a new shape
worn out (or in) to a new purpose
considered carefully then held tight
or maybe just
window shopped.

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