A clacking seagull
Raised his scissor beak to the sky.
His shrill cut the silence of the sea.
You and I stood beneath the blue and saw
A sunny bank across the bay.
The sea lapped a wooden pier,
Green foam circled, then vanished.
Hooks were baited, lines were tossed
Flounder ran and fishermen waited.
Hopes were high as flat
Brown-speckled fish swallowed hooks.
Along the sandy pebbled beach,
Colored stones and shells hid beneath
The crush of booted feet.
You and I stood watching the silent scene,
As if intruding, we stepped into another’s dream.
The scene seemed done in black and white,
A woodcut carved by crafty hands.
Yet we knew the hues were plainly there.
A deceiving trick hung over us.
The sassy gull cried again,
Announcing intruders to the group
Of silent, patient men.
Life’s second-hand paused a moment
To let us pass.
We wandered on another path,
Passed wind-bent bony scrub
Crushing clam shells as we stepped
To reach the point of Barnegat Light.
Its splintered wooden doors shuttered
With metal bolts and bars, held secure
To a lock chained from within.
Did he know we stood waiting?
Only a speck on the horizon’s edge
Would stir the keeper’s curiosity.
A bronze bust faced the lighthouse doors.
A man who loved the sea, his face turned
Inward from wind, light, and distant bar.
He was guardian of the bolted doors.
Fresh winds blew the clouds away.
Shadows deepened in the bright,
As light dissolved to orange, blue, and gray.
You and I laughed and tossed in sandy folds
As the wind watched and waited,
Then quickly hid our scattered prints.
We did not sadden to see our traces taken.
Gusts of wind cannot claim
The gifts of joy from a summer sea.
I can honestly say I looked like a million
when I wore the carnelian necklace
With the Fred Leighton black cotton dress
I bought in Puerta Vallarta
When I had a straight up and down french fry figure.
I can honestly say I wish the hotel maid
had not taken the necklace as her own.
She did not know or care I spent good money
to buy the piece at Brentano’s on 5th Avenue.
Does she look svelte wearing a black dress and my necklace?
I can honestly say the carnelians will bolster
the maid’s desire for prosperity
Increase her creativtiy, guard against poverty, and
if she continues to steal, the stones
Will not protect her unexpected afterlife.
June day with slow, lazy hours.
Books to skim looking for prologues,
maybe I’ll read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
Diane Trilling praises McCullers prior to Part One.
“In the town there were two mutes. . . . “
I have spent hours being mute
watching sparrows steal bits of bread from the doves.
Silently I read a recipe for pizza crust
and promise myself to sit in the living room tomorrow.
The living room is a dead room,
no one sits on the couches.
A striped, crafty cat stares as I walk by a dozen times a day or more.
come, sit and read to me.
Read to yourself on a June day.
Bus Ride to the City
New Jersey Transport
Bus 114, Union
Park and Ride to Manhattan
Barney’s Discount Furniture
To Interstate 78
Seafood & Lobster
Electrical Supply — We Discount
September 17 Half Way to
St. Patrick’s Day
Last Exit Before Toll
Positively no Admittance
Except on Business
Newport Transportation Company
Golden West Service
Speed Limit 55
Exit 15E Newark — Jersey City
Exit 16E Stop
Paterson Plank Road
Detour Next Right
Eco omy Lodge Special
All Trucks Use
One Bedroom Condos
For Sale 863-8690
Port Imperial Ferry
Alamo in Florida
South Tube Rehab
How Am I Driving?
Stop Pay Toll
Unlawful to Change Lanes.
Wild is the heart
Of a flower being kissed
By the summer wind.
The mistresses coyly tease,
Yet shy and wait again.
Their dancing forms given invitation.
They long to follow the floating air.
The wind is on his way
To other fields of flowers.
No time to linger
On one sweet mouth,
When a gallant wind might touch
The petals of every virgin flower.
I turned away and all that remained,
A patch of misty breath spread upon the window pane.
Each crystal living for a moment hung suspended.
Their lives cut short by an icey warmth.
Crystals slowly shrunk and drew together,
Until no trace remained of the life that drew a breath
And placed it on the window pane.
Tank top, Bulls cap, & a necklace tattoo,
Nineteen & taking a test that matters.
Looking for answers on the ceiling or in the Universe.
Scribbling out a long division problem, haven’t a clue.
You had the answers in the 9th grade,
Too smart to stay in school, pay attention.
Sloughed off, party time, slept late, smoked weed.
At sixteen lover boy did not put on a jimmy,
What did he need protection from, anyway?
Oh, you’re pregnant & dropping out. Smiley face,
How nice is that?
Tank top at the back of the classroom,
“What’s the difference between am and are?”
Who can tell him? Remember how to conjugate
The verb To Be? I am. You are. She is.
Or, do you only remember the girl you conjugated last night?
In nine months you’ll reach the plural of To Be.
We are – parents, poor, unemployed, proud, getting by
On food stamps & wondering if a GED is possible,
Along with a good job & high pay.
Once too smart to stay in school.