Weekend Poetry: Sea Memory and other poems


The son of the neighbourhood nazis

made her come, washed her hair,

lit the smooth, white fingers of two tsigára.

These gestures she embraced

like letters hand-delivered from the front.


But there is no front haunting her,

save the Fascist face of Athens’ back-

footed hydra. A clean scalp,

the sterile ash – not so soothing

when recalling her lover’s excuses


stalling. Men will say anything,

will not say anything, if they think

it will get them somewhere.

What would he have her say when face-

to-face with the mother and father –


‘Oh well’ to hatred taking place at home?

What to tell her friends in England

braced for another Victorian Britain?

What to make of Europe turning alien...

Bereft, she thumbs her phone.



Seeing the Pacific for the first time

         taking in the drive-in of the elements


Sun-charmed vapor churning the air

         streaking the sand and the hood of the Ford


Came through Aberdeen

         in the state named after the founding father

               with pioneer and native under wheel


Flickbook outskirts blending into the suburbs

         of a Rorschach fishing town

                  blending into the suburbs’ flickbook outskirts


And unbelievably there they were

          the shore the surf the sea the sky

                  arrayed in strips

                         a Rothko realized



All morning, all afternoon,

this popping sound


coming from the woods.

Not the rhythmic champing


of the tree-feller’s chore,

but a sputtering –


a bubbling, populous hubbub.

It skips over private land


and plays on the ear,

like a child in a shut-down


penny arcade.

Night piles up,


the popping sound

stops, remains.


The next morning – breakfast

of bullets of flesh,


their skins pierced, one

by one, lest a popping sound


disturb the peace.


Humphrey Astley

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