Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Ocean Heart (2002)

Ah brig, good night,
to crew and you:
the ocean's heart too smooth, too blue
to break for you.
-- Emily Dickinson

After 20 years adrift in modern paradise
the heart grows burnished, like sea glass,
of its malt obliquities. I remember
my first summer down here walking Cocoa Beach
after drinking all night, my jeans rolled,
the morning a sweet diaspon of swelling joy,
my head singing that old Bob Marley tune
"is this love is this love is this love that I’m feelin"
to tiny Atlantic rollers which broke and scattered
all the sunlight just before my feet. How I hoped
for some Venus to sashay butt-naked off
those waves and fuck my emptiness
with porno-cum-motherly abandon.
Ah me. I drove as always home empty-handed,
my need for love conched inside that brilliant beach.
The years were not without their tide of vestals,
boozy and half-spread devotees of things
I way too partially represented. Our bodies
clanged like clabbers of a weary fog bell,
our hearts nacreous with bitters which would appall
any god, much more twenty-somethings
reaching for the golden ring inside the other’s thighs.
I tried, they tried, we all tried to make a go
of something which had small Michelangelo.
Then came the wives, who joined hands with me
in houses built on time, earnest sorors who sought
to reconcile their history with mine. Both wives
attacked the task with a feral openness I fell far
short of matching. We never made it together
much to any beach, what with daily tasks so far inland,
removed from those yeasty beams of ocean light,
our earnest labors wearying us from every sou
of drippy fun. No wonder I dreamed
of nipply naiads scampering red-rumped
in the surf just out of reach, their beach towels
dropping like moot fig leaves in the scree
— Nor any surprise that I plunged from
those briared ridges into sweet, descending,
horrific billows. I’ve just begun to right
those rumpy arrears. What’s next?
I’ll not go forward without reaching for
the hand I know, surf or no, toward
the best or worst years of love. Sadly
she may not reach back. We’ve new waters to face,
beached, if you will, where there are the
most difficult of surf conditions, full of riptides
and dark harbors: Yet face it together we must,
paradise or no, or never know which hands
the white heat rinsed in those white sands.


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