Friday, July 10, 2009

Poem: Herring Cove Beach, 1997

Since I'm in Provincetown for a few days, I thought I'd post an old poem I wrote based on my experiences there. It's unfinished, I suppose, but nevertheless, gives some flavor of the place, among other things.

Rooftop scene, Provincetown


If I wrote

    the bikinied couples fleeing the sun's
stare, the fragrance of sex over-
flowing the dune's copper cups,
mysterious rote symphony of the sea,

would that make this a poem and not just a snapshot, even though it's barely enough to fashion a brief lyric? Perhaps there's grist for verse in the sand between my thighs, or the laughter braided with cries from the bathers a few feet away, or the relentless Atlantic, relentlessly churning lyrics of its own. Or you, lying supine and oblivious, your head bobbing to a House tape and the newspaper, on the immaculate white raft of your beach towel. Remembering when this was like yesterday, the first day, our beginning. The afternoon crawling before us, unaware, our chaperone. A starfish, wafflecone fragments and watermelon rinds, a dumped-ice river, used condoms, or the abandoned lifeguard stand that flickers in the blue and shifting distance. And then I am standing facing the horizon, the water, my shoulders gaining color and authority like our silent bond, you behind me, beside me, with me here, in the ocean's ancient, ever-moving shutter.

Copyright © John Keene, 1997, 2008. All rights reserved.