At Coney Island

 

Strange tubas in my ears and the fat
yellow light lolling across
the boardwalk doesn’t
exactly help and of course
elephants lumbering
through one’s thoughts
remembering where they
must go to die is not
the pleasantest of situations
either and the ocean
what can you say about it?
It hardly knows itself
but there it is the one
and the many waves all doing
whatever waves do, lapping
doggedly at the shore,
making a splash, lending
themselves unwisely
to human metaphor
the whole earth meanwhile
spinning through space
like a basketball on the tip
of an idle god’s finger.
People stroll by eating
hot dogs, heroes, corn-
on-the-cob, wildly purple
burst of cotton candy
and other members
of the colorful, hard-
to-believe food groups.
Well, some of us do a pretty
decent job of amusing ourselves
here where the land
meets the sea and music
empties the air
of silence. This is what
we crawled up out of
four hundred million years ago,
and this is what
we’ve become now that
we’ve dried ourselves off.
Creatures so fearful
of death we’ll actually
get on a rollercoaster
just to calm ourselves down.
This is the much needed
transfusion of the outer
to the inner world.
Elephants, tubas, fat light
falling across the bathers
asleep on the shore
of the Atlantic  Ocean.
Their children splashing
each other in the freezing water.

 

–from Sea of Faith; first published in Poetry