It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Pictures That Got Small
December 23rd, 2013
This might have been a dream, or perhaps a nightmare, except that it was a waking vision and it felt oh so tranquil. It seems appropriate to the season when we are saying good-bye to an old year and all the years that preceded it, and are on the cusp of the new. I am not entirely happy with the way that my blogging program has inserted a little extra space between each line, but I’m not unhappy with it, either. The extra space stretches things out and makes the poem have even more of a lazy, detached, languorous feeling.
I remain moored in the same place, but
every year the shore recedes further and
the big water deeper and wider all
around me. Used to be, I’d watch
the little pale fish: first their shadows
dotting and running the rippled sand,
darker green on the golden green, then
themselves halting and in unison
bolting like something sprayed from a
bottle, sometimes so fast disappearing
until my eye caught their shadows again.
That was when it was inches deep.
After awhile it was not fish but people
occupied my view, at first a shifting
few on their dry yellow slope: a couple
families, older ones mostly sprawling on
towels colorful as macaws, ones older
than that dazed on folding chairs, kids
helter skelter, half a dozen or so, digging
with plastic implements they’d leave behind
as if to mark where what they’d made
had been. I got to know a few. A fat
boy with a blue bucket. A college girl
lying on her stomach, looking both ways
like a kid crossing a street before she
reached behind and bared her breasts
to the sand while her boyfriend slept.
An old man and an old woman passing
a book back and forth, pointing at pages.
Of what they all said, as fewer and fewer
words could reach me, I understood
less and less, until it was only children’s
ejaculations and their parents’ (?)
cautionary howls, dimming gradually.
By that time they were numerous dots
on the beach, unevenly clotted as the
little fish had been; as not with the fish,
I could see what might have made
their patterns form. Shade trees. A tent
emitting loud music attractive to some.
Metal boxes in which to light fires.
Proximity of others like or unlike.
the time of day – the changing angle
at which the sun’s spears strike beneath
the mildly heaving surface into a blue
in which, at last, striations of light
converge but are lost before they meet –
is all I see.