Category Archives: beach poems

Morrie at the Beach: Heaven Scent

Morrie at the Beach

Everywhere he wanders,
everywhere he goes
is a place to stick his
curious little nose.

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Birds are drifting over,
hundreds at a time;
yet his nose is stuck in
something more sublime.

Aromas are his poetry, 
scents to him are words.
He has no time for looking
at these air-bound birds.


Even when they’re floating
nearby on the sea,
He only has time lately
for odors and for me!

What to many is simply a bad odor can be fascinating to others. I am so curious about what Morrie can detect as he sniffs everything on the beach!!

Daniel’s Beach Bar

A La Manzanilla tradition is the gathering each night to watch the sunset on the beach behind Daniel’s real estate office and home.  I happen to rent the house next door and so nightly, even if I don’t always join them, I am still party to the sounds of laughter, talking and glug glug of tequila being poured into shot glasses.  On those rare occasions when there is phosphorescence on the water, the “Ohhhhhhhhh’s” come in loud waves and I run out to share the spectacle. Daniel’s beach bar is only one of the aspects of this special place that make it special, but it is one so familiar to me that I wanted to share it with both those who know it well as well as those of you who don’t. Not written to any prompt, this one is written from the heart and memory:

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Daniel’s Beach Bar

The wormwood planks above the sand,
set on pillars by his hand,
form a bench twelve feet or so
where every night townspeople go
to watch the sun sink in the ocean
and (if they should have the notion)
to share a tequila shot or two,
to chew the fat and share the view.

He is a solitary man,
tall and skeletal and tan.
Shirtless and shoeless, he sits among
the friends, like him, no longer young,
who choose this life of sand and sea
where they can be what they want to be.

A bottle cap sufficient to stub
his cigar smoked down to  nub,
he leaves the ones who gather here,
and grabs another bottle of beer
to stroll back to his office where
for another hour, he’ll type and stare
at the screen where other friends abide,
locked securely there inside.

Tomorrow morning, the town asleep,
the village vagabond will sweep
the sand for butts of cigarettes,
his luck compounded when one forgets
a pack with one or two inside.

And though there’s no one there to chide,
still, he quickly palms them and
moves through last night’s littered sand––
past empty glasses and one or two
tequila bottles devoid of brew.

Last night’s spoils in light of day,

give last night’s revelries away.

(Click on any image to enlarge all)

 

 

Another Sunset

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Another Sunset

This bald
 horizon line,
teeth of far-off cliffs.
 
An orange that  hurts, it is so bright—
the face of the sunset
makes its daily pilgrimage.

Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Today, facing the hard stone 
of an offshore outcropping.

We, the tender-hearted,
wait for you each evening.
We line our hearts up for you. 

Over here, I’m the girl
In red sequins at the front,
waiting for your black velvet brother.

 

WOW #8.  The purpose of this prompt is to white out words in a given passage or poem to create your own piece. I added a few words as well to make the poem mine. Here is the original:

 

February Elegy by Mary Jo Bang
© Mary Jo Bang

This bald year, frozen now in February.
This cold day winging over the ugly
Imperfect horizon line,
So often a teeth line of ten buildings.
A red flag flapping
In the wind. An orange curtain is noon.
It all hurts her eyes. This curtain is so bright.
Here is what is noticeably true: sight.
The face that looks back from the side
Of the butter knife.
A torn-bread awkwardness.
The mind makes its daily pilgrimage
Through riff-raff moments. Then,
Back into the caprice case to dream
In a circle, a pony goes round.
The circle’s association: There’s a center
To almost everything but never
Any certainty. Nothing is
More malleable than a moment. We were
Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Some summer sun
Asked us over and over we went. The sand was hot.
We were only yesterday tender hearted
Waiting. To be something.
A spring. And then someone says, Sit down,
We have a heart for you to forget. A mind to suffer
With. So, experience. So, the circus tent.
You, over there, you be the girl
In red sequins on the front of a card selling love.
You, over there, you, in black satin.
You be the Maiden’s Mister Death.

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.