Weekend Poetry: Sea Memory and other poems

TAKING PLACE

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.

 

SEA MEMORY

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

 

REMAINS

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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