Memorial Lighthouse, Trinidad Civic Club, Trinidad, Ca. — JCagney
Bone spur of the lighthouse
Excavated from the hillside
By diligent shovels of weather
Stands purified under the administration
Of the sun; overseer to an ocean
Of scales flashing white and green.
An old man sits at a bench
shepherding the wet painting of the horizon.
As we approach, he pulls the loaded rifle
of his terrier closer to his chest.
They await what has already arrived—
The radiant ignition of ocean
The coastlines dancers of granite & basalt
tossing gowns of sheer water,
foam livid in their teeth
My friend and I stand on a cliff between
a small lighthouse & brick wall. We stink
of endless afternoons of gravel and coffee;
yet the dog stays at peace in the old man’s lap.
Over the hymn of ocean
my friend, compelled by spirit,
turns to me, announces:
I want to be reborn
as a lighthouse
I imagine him conducting
an orchestra of waves
His tongue an aero beacon
slicing fog like cake.
We turn to the
stone wall behind us and read
the engraved names of those
lost and buried at sea.
the ocean both city and cemetery.
The taken and the disappeared
remain as letters to a vacated name
& the range of years they were responsible for
Were they buried with illnesses intent?
Or lost to the endless curiosity of the waves
What circumstances in life
Will lead you to step into the mystery
of what fevers beneath the surface of the sea?
Will you be weather or rock or lighthouse
Or letters assembled in combination
To unlock a spirit from its tomb
Perhaps the afterlife isn’t above
But below. Perhaps dog and man know this
for the opening of the sacred text
for seagulls to chant names
into the rock wall canvas
for lyrics of the ocean’s song to be revealed
Like children, we approach the old man
as to the appetite
& habits of the lighthouse
& its ocean
But the old man only turns
to stare through us
& silently mourn our sanity
as black fleas
drip from his dogs chest
It took several rewrites to get this to flow correctly. I’m finally ready to walk away.