A grip of dreamless blonde sand
drenched in corrugated steel.
The sky & the streets slanting down into the sea
just like me
in advance of a cold breeze off the water
that has knives in it.
You need not fear the Eskimos drinking Vietnamese coffee
nor the waterlogged legions of the dead leaving their damp
footprints on the concrete.
The beach is lit with votive candles in glass
jars painted red & the damp pavement breathes
the same air you & I do.
Draining the color from telepathic neons
the tides answer to a mythology
older than the gravity that sleeps in every stone
cobbled along the shore.
Something we don’t understand & only half believe
although you would probably dance to it if given
half a chance.
We hit the road for Malibu or Damascus I
can’t remember exactly which.
A pharmacy in Chinatown, fish tacos in a parking lot
near the beach. Redemption wasn’t in the cards.
Stagelit streets descending as in Tangier, or Todos Santos,
or an Albuquerque by the sea.
We slept on a stone floor in El Rosario
awakened in the dark by the thunder of the surf.
I may have been reaching out to you
with two or more hands
at that very moment
bending like a spoon to the flame.
A heel of sidewalk groaning with albatrossian hang-time
bedecked with seaweed brocade. A surf manual
translated into Church Latin. Chop suey w/a Spanish accent.
lingers like a puff of Papal smoke.
There was sand in my ear & a million reasons
the air was seasoned with saltmist & car exhaust
& your heart was like a flotation device…
The road north was just like the road south
only played in reverse. I rolled in at
twilight feeling like Cortez—a real killer.
Nothing had changed.