nthposition online magazine

Snowbirds & The interval

by Patrick Warner

[ poetry - april 06 ]

Snowbirds

If I struggle, it won't be with moral choices,
though an overnight flight from winter to summer
might result in wrong footing of senses,
like sticking your hand under a running tap
and not being able to say if it's cold or hot.

And a six-day-all-inclusive package junket,
a six-day-all-you-can-eat-and-drink excursion,
with full limousine service from the airport
to this hotel resort will hardly be enough time
to acclimatize-but somehow I'll enjoy it!

Enjoy the fact that I can still be impulsive,
that a half-page ad in the weekend paper-
see virgin beach and freckled, sun burned bather-
can slip under my feet like a magic carpet,
whisk me away from seasonal affective disorder

Enjoy the view through these sunglasses
with palm trunk arms and fronds over frames,
bought from a crippled vendor named Juan
someone-he either said "Juan" or "I am,"
whatever! I had to buy to get rid of him.

As if I hadn't already contributed enough
to the local economy-but I'll forget about him
and his tin shack town just over the hill,
and enjoy how these lenses turn the ocean red
and the surf, where it breaks, to pink lace.

I will enjoy the form of the American surfer,
by his crew cut hair, I'll guess, a military advisor,
cock-of-the-walk as he rides a rolling comber,
and forget what I've read about local police
and their unofficial war against the homeless.

I will enjoy the beautiful girls on the beach,
all locals, and not one afraid of being topless,
especially that one who sticks out her tongue
when she catches me watching her watching him,
that surfer turtling seaward through the swell.

She will torment for the rest of the week,
reminding me of what it was like to be young,
and without inhibition. I will think of her
as I flip-flop my way through the tide pools,
gathering whelks, mussels and sea snails

And I will recall, as well, the newspaper piece
(Focus section from the same weekend edition)
about workers on these exclusive resorts,
and how the radiant eyes of young women
do not signify natural health but malnutrition.

Which will make it harder to live vicariously
through this surfer, to enjoy his reach,
as he makes one more run from the sea
to where the wait on the blood red beach.
This is how it will go for the rest of the week:

I will sit as the piss-warmed swim-up bar.
I will read a novel each day before lunch.
I will graze the buffet in my flowery shirt.
I will sit in my chair sipping tropical punch,
not quite settling; in fact, with just days to go

I will notice how things have started to smell,
like that forgotten bucket left out by the door,
that one as a child I would carefully fill
with starfish, sand dollars, crab shells,
and various other seaside mementos.

 

The interval

Each post struck vibrates with a hum,
blurs outward, become a twin,
before settling back into its shape again.

From a distance I notice a delay
between the hammer strike
and the strike's report.

Scientifically speaking, this
is the time it takes sound to travel.
Whole lives are lived in this interval.