Saturday, June 19, 2010

6/31 Brigantine Beach, NJ

Encased in steel and glass
Nearly a thousand pounds of sinews, strength, and dreams,
Soar to a lofty platform. Ten thoushand eyes
Of sandaled children...

i among them
miss the spectacle
of the plunging half-ton
i hugged his surging white neck
from section one-eleven

These are my children
Never before have they seen
An animal DOING something
Does my oldest, Dennis, 8
Make sense of a horse
Leaping from a tower?
Does my Ronnie-me long to ride?
Joel, not quite four, will he remember?
Did I pack enough bottles for
Baby Joyce?

Four days ago a family pulled up
to Cottage 43 in Brigantine
The floor and sheets are full of whitest sand.
The cleanup task begins...

now now
i badgered dad
a day in the Pontiac wagon
i'm hungry i'm hot
the sand on the blanket
will be fine until we
get back

My Mel is like that.
Sweep the floor, set the stage.
Every prop has a grid in storage;
Every toy knows where to sleep.
You play like you rehearse.
The best window displayman
The Three Rivers have to offer
Doesn't leave for the water
With the wagon full.

The boys, aged eight and six, in an embrace
Reserved for lovers. Had they only known
A battle for a new room would take place
At least a sleeping bag...


Aware the sky, that silky black
Is turning steely blue I steal
A moment when even the seagulls sleep
But I perceive the change.
The water not yet boiling,
The sun not yet rising,
The children undisturbed.
A jigsaw of somnolent body parts
Will spring to life in not too long -
And they will be hungry.

Atlantic City boardwalk, where the boys
Eat shirtless, wistful gaze of teen girls met
With gestures to be seated, but the noise
Of wild guitars...

mary margie our sitters
recognize it in an instant
the guitar leads us like pheromones
dad, who for once touring freestyle
did not get that the music,
not he, was in command

Mel, what to do when we've obtained
The secret door, neglected
By aught but a crack?
The girls begged to stay
As Sgt Pepper rattled the door
Against its hinges
No expert on the changes, can't predict
The seismic shifts these sounds portend;
My children hunger.
Leaving legends to suckle offspring,
Time of day trumps epoch time
For us on the fringes.

The music stays, Alas! The band moves on
To feed the hunger of a different sense
Unvoiced resentment roils their Diet Cokes
No words are uttered...

maybe dad's afraid
of these new noises, strange
not the folk songs of protest
not mary abd margie's ballads
no, change progresses in measured steps
not this rip in time

Over lunch I sense the nannies
Glaring as if the meal's repugnant.
Mother-in-law asks, "How're you feeling?"
I mutter, "I think I fell pregnant."

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