Smacked by insomnia yet again and sitting here and thinking about the phrase going off the deep end.
Nah, not a good idea.
I’ll invent an alternative reality with the phrase Cement Seating at Lake O. A phrase more apt.
That’s the title of the photograph displayed on this page. I took it with my smartphone, Brando, on Tuesday, high noon, Summer Solstice Eve. Roger and I were walking the beach at Hamlin Beach State Park where earlier I’d set up my tent, Bukowski, and prepared to embark on a solo poetry safari. But, before Roger saw himself off, back to the house, to leave me on Site #169, D Loop (no dogs), we took our customary spin around the park. Mid-way, around Mile Marker 1, we needed to get the sticky off and find a place to park our butts where the breeze could wick away the heat. We eyeballed the advantage point of picnic tables. But then, voilà, a cement-over-limestone-boulder jetty and at the end, what looked like Madeleine’s chapeau à la giantesse—a banquette! As we headed out the runway to it, I snapped the photograph. Jetty, lake, sky—all ours.
I looked at this image several times during my 20 hours of solitude. I sat on that cement bench where Roger and I had sat, no other human souls in sight, and the deep end at our feet sent me off on a surprising safari.
I bagged myself the drafts of 16 new poems.
Among them are three scherzo that will go as a triptych into my collection of “Michael poems,” close to eighty of them now, each prompted by a line from one of Michael G. Smith’s poems, my friend in Santa Fe’s work, from his first book. And each line lands in the poem as I pay tribute to him. (If you recall, a scherzo is a poem form William Heyen created, basically thirteen syllables, two lines, one rhyme.)
Then I took aim at a long sequence of cameos with a couple double cameos thrown in. Taut poems of one hundred syllables, no more, no less. (Title is excluded.) The surprise was my mini portraits turned out to be personality studies of punctuation marks. What a hoot. (See below.)
This big-game huntress stalked down a dozen of those babies.
Ohmigod, yes, it was a most excellent safari somewhere in the deep end of imagination.
The Comfort of Commas
Doubting Thomas of grammarians that I am,
when in quandary, insert by deft keystrokes,
a comma, ask you, please, to parse
in this skein of phrases, the short
breaths of moths to lamplight,
night, then more night, and more,
more night creatures— owl, and /
coyote—nighttime’s nightmare, or
pacific dream, night, midsummer’s night,
awake every hour from doubtful, ragged
sleep; I take an insomniac’s cure:
I count commas one, two, three,….
Good night, dear reader.