The Making Of A History

 

Vacation Culebra

I can remember a warm hand
pressing on my belly
fingers like predictions
reaching
winding their way
forming into my future

I was still un-written
a white page
waiting for its epic poem
to adorn
with rainbow watercolor skies
swelling blue oil seas
fertile green forests
plump with fruit
pixie dust and dreams
of lips being kissed ruby red
sealed with white satin promises

Different authors penned my narrative
each hand bore its distinctive cursive blue and black liquid letters
an inked history
filled my book
some pages tore
shred
I let them fly into the wind

Others I folded
tucked away
an account
a tapestry of tangled kisses
broken hearts
miscarriages of desire
lost souls
ripening on the vine
falling to the earth
passion love hate anger joy sadness loss
chapters in my book

My life
reveals itself
in the warm curve
of my hip
the soft give of my tummy
the arch of my lower back
against my lover’s hand
as he presses into
my core

Our Vacation in Culebra

 

 

Board Meeting

Board Meeting

We wonder what they say
as we walk hand in hand along the beach.
They are assembled on the sand
30, 40, maybe more.
White and grey
feathers tattered and worn
decorated with that small orange circle
on their yellow bill.

It’s their weekly board meeting,
Saturday morning congregation
on the sand.
Sharing traumas of the week
like the narcotics anonymous circle of 17 chanting
the serenity prayer
a few lifeguard stations north.

They could be planning a party,
a surprise for Joe,
who will be turning 21 next weekend.
Deciding who will bring the main course,
the side dishes and the dessert.
“Don’t forget to invite his Aunt Bea, the one that lives in Marina Del Rey”
Jean prods Tom.

They could be discussing
how many fish they each caught that week;
comparing species
comparing sizes
comparing stories.
Or the garbage they saw floating in their ocean.
Or their disappointment at the low turnout of visitors to the beach
who brought bread or birdseed to share.
Or the amount of trash they left behind.

They could be confessing
the number of heads they dropped on
looking down
cawing an apology
of their lack of control.

Maybe it’s a support group.
They come weekly.
Today George is making amends for the fight he started with Jim;
George didn’t share the fish guts tossed overboard
from the rusty blue and white Luhrs fishing boat,
instead he swooped in
pecked at Jim and snatched his prize from the fisherman.

They’re working toward acceptance
of themselves and each other.
Appreciation for tattered feathers, orange dots and
uncontrollable droppings on cars and benches and heads.

My husband and I watch
as the meeting on the sand ends.
We listen to them chant the serenity prayer
like the 17 people three lifeguard stations to the North.
“It works if you work it” they squawk,
take flight and catch the wind.

 

Carolyn Ziel

 

My Bench

Summer At The Bench

I woke up this morning and it was a hot summer day. I was looking forward to sitting on my favorite bench at the beach. It was my favorite bench for no other reason than it was mine. I like to go and sit. Sometimes I can sit for hours staring at the ocean change colors. When I got down to the beach and approached my bench there was a large man sitting on it. “That’s my bench.” I said. “Oh yes, well would you like to join me? I come here to look at the ocean. My wife disappeared last month, the sky just took her from me and I like to come here to look for her. I look out onto the ocean and see if she isn’t swimming toward the shore. She wasn’t a very good swimmer, but with all this practice, well, she must be quite strong at it by now.” I felt bad for this large lumpy man. He wore a black and blue plaid suit. His chin spilled over his tie. I just wanted to sit on my bench. I squeezed in next to him and sat staring at the ocean with him. “How long have you been looking for her?” “Oh for years now.” He said. “I have been coming to this bench every day for years. Although sometimes I go to the one over there or the one over there or the one over there.” He lifted his thick arm through the air and pointed each time he said the words ‘over there’. I saw his arm moving in my direction on the third ‘over there’ and I pushed back as far as I could so he didn’t hit my nose. My nose is worth protecting, that’s what I’ve always said. We watched the ocean together. It changed colors maybe twelve times that day. We watched the toy poodle and the bulldog play the shell game. The toy poodle was cheating, taking the bulldog for everything he had. “Trickery!” I said. “Trickery!” he agreed. “Trickery!” the bulldog barked. When the sun sunk into the ocean we stood up, shook hands and went our separate ways. The next day it was sunny again. When I arrived at my bench it was empty. I had so much room I could move my legs or even lie flat if I wanted and turn my head to stare at the ocean. I didn’t. I sat straight and tall and pushed myself as far as I could to the edge of the bench. Somewhere out there, someone was struggling with the sky.

August 21, 2012

The Artist’s Wake

I wrote a poem
about a mermaid
framed in wood
her tail shimmering
arcing her forward in
swirls and swishes
of oiled water
in a liquid world

I look at her
hanging on my office wall
while I type an email
answer the phone
cancel a check
pay a bill
I wonder about her creator
I wonder where she swims
I wonder who she breast strokes, butterflies and crawls away from
I wonder what waits
floating
buoyant beacon
lighting her course

What wish
bobs on the surface
to be transformed
from a dream

For what requiem
has she scattered
ashes and rose petals
what pieces of herself
dust the canvas

The memory of a lover’s touch
in the shadow of a milky breast
the soft kiss of a first born daughter
in the auburn curl of fairy hair
the salty betrayal of a husband’s indifference
in the siren’s enchanted ethereal train

What soul
sits watching on the shore
as dreams liquefy
in the wake
and the Mermaid swims

 

 

 

August 16, 2012