Archives for posts with tag: beach

Jarret shows me swimming strokes.
He dog paddles, frog kicks, breast strokes,
then shouts, “Watch me, watch me.”
He paddles up to me and whispers,
“This is a special one I made up, no one else knows.”
He does a double arm pull under his body
as if vaulting through the water. “Did
you see it? Did you see … I call it ‘the kitty’.”
A prodigious-sized man floats by and
says to Jarret, “So you’re the one
causing all the waves.”


Strangers confirm it. They float up to me
and say, “Isn’t it perfect? I mean as long
as you like water … .” then drift away.
I can’t deny it; I like water. My sons and I
watch three teenagers, two girls, one boy,
argue whether the water is too cold, as we
float in front of them, supine in water as hot
as soup, not even laughing as the girls squeal
after dipping their toes in, “You go! we’ll stay here,”
after all the beach is not an imperative … .

Jarret is throwing a Frisbee and I motion to him
to stop, the elderly woman floats between us,
looks at me and says, “Isn’t it wonderful?”
“What?” I ask, “Frisbees, hand signals, or children?”
“The water,” she replies and laughs at me,
her husband bounces beside her, his grin
crinkles his white goatee, his baseball cap reads
“Bob.” Both drift slowly, silently away, borne
by the waves. A flying Frisbee interrupts
my meditation, knocks me supine, once again;
this time the water cold, but refreshing.

I receive the surprise message
from the lake—I was the bottle
all the time. That can’t be hidden
on the beach—the woman beneath the striped
umbrella heard it—she said “Didn’t I
tell you it would feel good? Send them a letter.”
Writing starts by the edge of the water,
where anyone can find you by bottle, by mail,
with a banner rippling behind an airplane that reads,
”Doesn’t It Feel Good?”

The beach is flesh, its ubiquity,
its impersonality, its expression and
celebration. It is an epic of epidermis,
coloured and tattooed, roses, eagles
clutching thunderbolts, flags, maple leaves;
holding hands, strolling along the avenue,
melting into each other until all humanity
is just that moment when water meets
the shore. Everyone reads each other,
whether the message is obvious or hidden,
salvation is where you dig it, pulchritude
is how you look at it.

Waves shape the sand beneath the surf into
infinite progressive portraits of each wave’s
passage. Ripples ply upon ripples in a never ending
corrugated confabulation of crest and trough.
Swimmers learn to read the current by tracing
the sand with a blind foot in water, until the warp
and etch of the water writes upon them, water covers
them in ripples, etches upon their skin, the whorls of
their fingers now the identity of the place they swim in,
the name of their stroke written across them for everyone
to read. It’s hard to hide that sort of thing at the beach.

Beach makes lovers of us. Its caresses lead to hugs,
entwines us in the surf. Mothers carry their children
safe above the water, whole families leap into the wave—
each strives to laugh loudest. Lovers migrate here,
know their passion will only increase where everyone
pretends not to see them make love in the surf.
Look it is written right here on the beach, “Wait for me
here, I’ll be back in 5 minutes,” plain as day.

What is a bottle for? Messages, miniature lakes
contained to anticipate our thirsts? Instructions?
or just this, “I’m here, I hope you love me too.”

Do not confuse the beach with the event
that occurs when prevailing winds, water currents
grind primordial rock down into tiny and tinier bits,
right down to the molecular bits trapped between the
H two O and all the other little bits grinding into
littler bits; which explains sand and cosmogony.

Fountain of sand erupts from the deep,
carpets the shore, wrinkles, ripples, writes,
in time and lock step with the waves that grind
it into itself until it is only itself and thus sand
is one of the most transparent of elements—
did we not discover how to make glass
by building a fire on a beach? Does not know itself,
cannot rejoice in itself, will not read the inscription
it makes upon itself, waits for us to read what is written:
“each moment on the beach history repeats itself.”

There is no beach that is only sand and surf
at the edge of a great body of water; that is
a silent event waiting for us to find it, to shout
aloud the words written by its roaring voice.
It must be performed upon by the actors of the world—
the lines wait there, patiently, for the players to read.
Scripted, conceived, in itself mute, the beach awaits us,
prompts us to sing, to read what is written at our feet.

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