Category Archives: beach poems

Empty Morning

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Empty Morning

Since the fish refuse to come and play,
the fishermen have gone away.
And since there are no fish to score,
the birds have found another shore
to swoop over and sit upon.
The beach is empty when fish are gone.

Yesterday a busy throng
milled on the beach the whole day long.
But today they’ve gone to job
or school or kitchen—the whole mob.
My world is quiet. The ocean swell
once more has a tale to tell
purely itself. No interlopers.
No beer-swiggers or docile dopers.

No kids squealing as they wade
with parents watching from the shade
of palapas strung along the shore
close enough to ocean’s roar
to grab a toddler grown too brave
from the grasp of an ambitious wave.

Once more, the beach is just itself.
The sand has formed an unmarred shelf
just outside my beachside door.
No beach shovels to scoop and gore,
no sandcastles along the shore.
No footsteps strung along the beach
extending far above wave’s reach.

No butts or bottles, abandoned sandals.
No beach graffiti by vandals
innocently written in the sand
with a stick held in the hand.
“Chuy loves Luz” erased by wave,
impossible, perhaps to save
in either beachside sand or heart,
their teenage love doomed from the start.

All these stories tucked away
by one of few who chose to stay
after the throng has returned home,
leaving only ocean foam
that overnight swept them away.
Every morning, a clean new day.

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The prompt word today was minimal.  I used the theme for the poem, but not the word itself.  If you are a prompt-purist and feel the word must be seen, read on:

You won’t find the word “minimal.”
Its presence is subliminal!

Sunset Susurration

Click on first photo to enlarge all.


Sunset Susurration

The murmuration of the waves, the breeze’s gentle rush,
the small stain of the setting sun, spread by nature’s brush.
The yellow of her pallet, bold orange and red and pink
complicate the skyline as we watch the sun’s orb sink
like a flame-red new-cast penny set upon the ledge
of that calmer ocean on the horizon’s edge.

See it slip so quickly into the ocean’s slot,
making us forget for now all that we are not.
All of life’s frustrations, all misbegotten schemes,
are flushed into the water to sink into its seams.
This is why we gather to watch the sunset’s beauty.
every single evening—as though it were a duty.

The prompt today was murmuration.

“I Imagine” dVerse Poets, Prose Poetry

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I Imagine

I imagine one more holiday.
My mother sits at a large picture window
looking out over a broad beach,
watching dogs fetching sticks.
Then, because she cannot help it,
she takes her shoes off to walk through packed sand.
I imagine her sighting the offshore rock
where puffins nest.
I imagine footprints—hers and mine
and the paw prints of the dog—
someone else’s—
who joins us for the price of a stick thrown
over and over into the waves.

My mother could count her trips to the beach
on one hand,
and most of those times have been with me.
Once, in Wales, we sat on the long sea wall
under Dylan Thomas’s boathouse.
A cat walked the wall out to us,
precise and careful
to get as few grains of sand as possible
between its paw pads.
As it preened and arched under my mother’s smooth hand,
its black hairs caught in her diamond rings.

The other time we went to the beach
was in Australia.
We stayed out all afternoon,
throwing and throwing a stick,
a big black dog running first after,
then in front of it,
my dad sleeping in the car parked at the roadside,
my mother and I playing together
as we had never played before.

My mother and the ocean
have always been so far divided,
with me as the guide rope in between.
I imagine reeling them both in toward each other
and one more trip.
My mother, me, a dog or cat.
Wind to bundle up for and to walk against.
Wind to turn our ears away from.
Sand to pour out of our pockets
to form a small  volcano
with a crab’s claw at the top.

So that years from now,
when I empty one pocket,
I will find sails from by-the-wind sailors
and shark egg casings,
fragile black kelp berries
and polished stones.
The bones of my mother. The dreams of me.

From the other pocket, empty,
I will pull all the reunions I never fought hard enough for—
regrets over trips to the sea we never made.
And I’ll imagine taking me to oceans.
Walks. Treasures hidden in and hiding sand.
Someone walking with me—
someone else’s child, perhaps,
and a dog chasing sticks.

Note: I never took that last trip to the ocean with my mother, but I think of her every year when I come to stay at the beach on my own, and this year in particular, every time I throw the stick for Morrie and every time children come to play with us.

Written for the dVerse Poets prompt, Prose Poetry.To play along, go HERE.

Sounds of Morning: Two Portals

The front and back of my beach rental open onto two different worlds.  One is a world of cars, loud motorcycles, passing vendors with loudspeakers mounted on their trucks and at night, kids collecting to drink beer and blast music, other music from bars, mufflerless motorcycles and laughter.  The other opens onto a pristine beach with sea birds, fishermen, dogs, sand, an informal “beach bar” where neighbors gather each night to sip tequila and watch the sunset.  Since my beach cottage is essentially two large rooms with wide openings between and sliding glass doors and window that open onto the beach, plus another high double window that opens onto the street and that needs to be left open for ventilation, every morning I awaken to both worlds.  And this year, the additional sounds of Morrie who is ready to be let out for morning functions, to be fed and then to be taken off (with tennis ball) for another morning’s adventure. Between his basic functions and the beach walk, however, looms a matter of more importance:  THE BLOG!!! Sorry Morrie. One minute more, while I post this!

(Click on any photo to enlarge all and view gallery.)

Sounds of Morning

The music I awaken to when I’m at the beach
is a symphony of sounds nearby and others out of reach.
The gentle whirring of the fans beside me and above,
and sounds outside my kitchen door that I have grown to love:
the spread out carpet of the surf, the stirring of the dog—
as I lie here on the couch, sorting out my blog.
The day can’t really start for me until I’ve shed my words.
We cannot walk upon the beach to watch the soaring birds
and throw or chase the tennis ball as we do every day
until I shake the words out and put them all away.
The subtle tapping of the keys, the gas truck passing by
outside the bedroom window with its annoying cry
of “Ze-ta, Ze-ta, Ze-ta gassssss.”
(I cannot wait for it to pass!)
Then other traffic sounds fill in
to fill the space where it has been.
One room leaks in beach sounds to tell tale after tale
of needle fish and rooster fish and tuna, snapper, sail—
my porch like a receiver that gathers all these sounds
of nature and of passers-by with which this beach abounds.
Yet the bedroom window opens onto busy street.
I hear the passing traffic, the sound of passing feet.
Neighbor greeting neighbor and the gas truck’s bray—
all the usual street sounds of a noisy Mexican day.
The dog protests more earnestly. He’s ready for our walk.
He has no patience for this blog—its ponderings and talk.
So I save what I have written, content with what’s at hand
to wander off in other worlds of wind and surf and sand.

The prompt word today was sound.

Queen of Clean

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Queen of Clean

Squeaky clean, squeaky clean—
no errant coffee ground nor bean
mars my kitchen’s pure hygiene.
My kitchen floor is so pristine,
of cleanliness, I am the queen.
But if you catch it in between
those days the cleaning girl has been
working her magic on the scene,
I do not brag.  I do not preen.
I fear my house has lost its sheen.
I blame it on the dog, who’s keen
on dragging sand home from the beach
and brooms and dust rags I can’t reach.
So to you who daily teach
rules in fastidiousness, then preach
that cleanliness is right there next
to godliness, I’m clearly hexed.
Except for that one day a week
when I, too, am a cleanliness freak.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clean/

Beach Walk

We still love La Manzanilla, don't we? We know that all will soon be back to normal, the laguna once more sealed off, the crocodiles sealed off from the beaches and coastline, and the beaches and water once more inviting to human habitation.
It was 35 years ago that I first ran away from home to go live at the beach.  For the past 15 years, I have never lived more than 4 hours away from the ocean, and for 20 years before that, I was within 20 miles of it. During these years, I have written hundreds of pages of poems and stories about the the beach, and as I sat here for two hours today, reworking what perhaps was one of the first poems I ever wrote as I spent a year going to the beach every day to write, it suddenly occurred to me that I would rather be doing art, using the boxes of material collected on the beach during the two months I spent there this year, than writing about the experience. I’ve already done that, and here is where you can find it: https://judydykstrabrown.com/category/beach-poems/

That URL will get you to the most recent beach poems. (You’ll need to scroll down past this one once you’ve clicked on the URL above.)  To see earlier ones, go to the archives (near the bottom of the scroll next to a poem entitled “flip flop”)  and select November, 2014 or December, 2014 for older poems.

Please join me in beach combing by taking a walk backwards—as far as you choose to go—through three years of beach poems—reading and looking at what you wish. Some poems you may just walk by or pick up in your hands and then cast away. Others you may examine closely, reading them in their entirety. And some, I hope, you will choose to store away on the shelf of your mind to remind you that you came from the sea and it is always there for you to go back to.

Now, for the rest of the day, I’m going to do what I’ve wanted to do for a month and a half now—unpack some of the boxes of shells, stones, bones, sand, corroded metal, driftwood and assorted beach trash found on the beach as well as uncompleted “found” sculptures begun in January and February. Then, I’ll  “do” for a day instead of writing about it.

Please enjoy your beach combing today as I’ll enjoy mine.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/beach/

Double Snap!

Double Snap!

“Clap hands,” they said, “Clap hands
to the music,” and we all obeyed
that 50’s and 60’s band
that we might have followed anywhere–
out the door and across the street into the ocean
like geriatric children following a Pied Piper.

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As we had when the music was new,
we gyrated and sweated,
bumped hips, jitterbugged,
did swing and wild improvisation

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at Palapa Joe’s.
Joe himself barefoot at the keyboard,

a bookend to Denise at the drums.
And we? We are as hot
as this February night.

“Oh to be young again” is not in anyone’s vocabulary,
for we are teenagers again below the Tropic of Cancer.
In the ocean or in front of it,
sipping the sunset from tiny cobalt glasses,

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watching children move toy trucks down sandy roads
of their imagination

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and teenagers elfin in the surf.

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The sun falling falling farther northwards every day
until that March day we waited for every year when it sank
directly behind the offshore island.

Snap. It is gone.
Double snap. So are we.

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Here’s more of a photo story about Palapa Joe’s if you are interested:
 https://judydykstrabrown.com/2016/02/28/last-open-mike-of-the-season-at-palapa-joes/

The NaPoWriMo prompt was “double” and the WordPress prompt was “snap” so I combined them today…Here are links to those prompt sites in case you want to play along:
http://www.napowrimo.net/day-fifteen-2/
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/snap/