the shaft of morning light striking a blade of grass
the brightness of yellow against the mauve winter tightness.
Remembering the waves of old voices, Elliot’s cute cat wit,
Sitwell’s jingle jangle records,
Dylan Thomas’ long rich descending lines,
Spicer intoning his pain of a California lost,
Robert Duncan’s shrill embarrassing camp,
and our dissident, rebellious singing
the Wobbly ‘International’ at the White Horse
drowning out the Stalinists there.
The wave and warp of memory mixes so much
Do we ever untangle it all, or touch
the clear line of what reality was.
When I was sixteen
my young beliefs were torn apart,
as Mormon dogma, and incredulity battled,
like a sea storm banging into headlands,
the waves washed my old beliefs away.
In the Playland at Ocean Beach
I grasped for the golden ring
flying by on my gilded horse
the great prize beyond my reach
a love lost and old certainties gone.
Is anything as bitter and sweet
as an overwhelming passion lost?
Sweet, sticky, sweat commingled
our tongues and bodies melding into one,
my radiant queen, blond, blue eyed as I was,
as we, bursting into sex, but unfulfilled,
grappled bestially at the edge;
neither of us free to go further.
I was ardent but inexperienced
hadn’t known how to break through
and lost her to an Israeli’s chutzpah.
A buddys silk parachute; her wedding dress.
Then the perpetual fog of belief
that enveloped my youth lifted
as if a wave broke and shattered it,
Berkeley’s sun dazzled my eyes.
Waves repeat, come on and on, this seventh breaking,
washed my childhood away, then over again,
little waves got bigger and bigger
all through college, andthe years at the Cyclotron,
when the seventh broke and washed me East.
There have been many cycles
marriage, a child, a divorce, an affair, then
remarriage, victories and defeats, the waves
go on and on, always the count of seven,
the most likely dice throw, or the equivalent human age of a dog,
and the relentless renewing of our cells every seven years,
until the last large breaking wave
carries all, the memories, the loves,
dreams and happiness away, like doves
wings flashing light over a far horizon.
Kent Bowker 5/28/2015