07 June 2007

Southern Rhode Island Coast

I swear I didn't sleep last night.

I realized the other day that the cadence most natural in the poetry I write resembles the rhythm of a children's book or a nursery rhyme,

Lying on my back on the sand today, reading T. S. Elliot and Kierkegaard, groping for a political philosophy, and then stretching out beneath slumber, all my thoughts in fragments still,

The ocean and the continuity of self. Learning that it helps my later self, in some ways, to force out a record of days, even if my words have no artistry, even if I can't finish or properly punctuate sentences,

Here at a side beach, enclosed by stone jetties, watching the Block Island Ferry, a tall white layer cake with frosting windows, floating back and forth on a string, jelly flags whipping. High blue sky, gulls (sky rats), fishing boats crawling below, and kite surfers cutting in angles and spitting white foam. Houses, stretching out along the arm of horizon, shingled, grey,

All of my words, always the same,

The ocean, rolling, like Ecclesiastes, and me watching, groping after words (vanity, vanity),

I can't match the things I've read, Fitzgerald's blue ocean of promise denied, Camus' boiling Algerian Sea, Warren's muddy Louisiana Bay, somehow still inviting to Anne and Jack, with space to float and sky, sky, and grey and slate and storm and cloud,

I can see, more than imagine, Sylvia Plath's Cape Cod, where she nannied and slept in the sun, pressing her brown body into a heated jetty stone, pulling periwinkles off the rocks, and the green brine of low tide, and cleansing wind regardless, and the way the salt stays in your hair all night