A Pier Poem with two lines of Lou Reed’s and one (misquoted) line of Steinbeck’s

Nail polish red, the parts of your heart

I can’t see, show them off, a serious

pert cute space above your name.

Sleeping on the beach above the nameless wave,

“duality of nature” in mind, I’ve proclaimed

a twoness in myself as cutting as the space between

your patronymic and familiar name.

“Two lines per person,” surging pull, replace

and shudder as the gravel turns over.

I sit on the heavy bench and see the heavy sea

(surfers call it slop) and contemplate,

not awake all over,


As if our double-chambered heart and brain

Told us we must pair

and procreate with twins.

To pare,

as if a rhyme as clean as “cut” and “scut”

could be the knife that separates a fish and life.

And in the zone I’ve gone to

I’ve never seen

anyone obey the sign to cast beneath the rim.

Everyone who grew up here knows this bend

the chance to look back and pretend

to float on air.

Those kidney-shaped glands jellyfish have,

they have names, but what are they?

Hearts? Brains?

Get up and sit down.

An exercise in  writing that becomes as binary

as end-stopped rhyme.

Someone carved my name into the rim.

My name is

“Worn Groove, Worn Groove, Drilled Hole.”

I thought that I’d refer to something cutting,

like the scars in the surface of the cleaning station,

or pungent as guts,

something rich and rusty like a urine stain.

My first memory of coming here

was the day a sideways wave washed over me,

and I’ve dreamed repeatedly

of being here,

the undertows of sleep

changing the ordinary folk into a parade.

Poems are about life,

and this one is about life jutting

from its accustomed place.

The bright empyrean,

why stories often portray angels as terrifying bright.

To jerk life forth in a burst from its berth in the deep

like a list that you keep

in a desk of your friends who have died

or metamorphosed

like scattered crab carapaces,

bones with open channels, rooms,

wells and snags.

“It’s a quality of light, a smell,”

It’s a murmur and a roar

“What could be more darkly bright

Than truth’s day star?”

The eyes have closed.

The negative exposed,

the lid snapped shut.

In rugose red boots

The lady walks past.

The die is cast,

the fish is caught,

Never to curl itself into a knot of “loose.”

To be cleaned in the gaze of others

Is to be chosen,

and rejected.

Two lines! May they track right,

and guide us through

the raging night,

into a clean day’s break.

written April 14 2012 as a participant in “Fishing for Words,” at the Pacifica Pier, hosted by Toni Mirosevich and Pacifica’s Environmental Family 


About aquaticbiology

I'm a person from the San Francisco Bay Area. I like reading, the movies, my family, and biology. I think the science blogosphere is really fantastic and this is my blog about aquatic biology and the life sciences - along with digressions into science-art and commentary. Enjoy!
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