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Jun 19, 2006 at 8:39pm
Crossing to Smith's Point

Beyond the lot of August-sticky vinyl and sun on chrome, where heat bleeds
from scorched macadam and ice rattles in battered red coolers, the dark
maw of tunnel, negative space, swallows us in a claustrophobic press of concrete
walls and dripping water, scratch of flip-flops on sandy walkway, dizzying echoes
of children's laughter and white noise of wind gusts and waves,
as if we slipped inside a spiral of conch shell washed ashore in a storm,

disoriented and lost like a dream I had once of thunderheads, storm
rumbling in while I stand in the empty parking lot; wind bleeds
sound from my words as the ocean rushes in, steady waves
on both sides as if I stand atop a sand bar, tide rising around me, dark
water that leaves me stranded and uneasy, shuddering echoes
of thunder rumbling through flooded macadam, the sheltering concrete

of the tunnel out of reach. Dream fading, I trace cool, porous concrete
with one hand, rhythm of breath and heartbeat slowing as the storm
in my brain subsides, floodwaters receding, leaving only quivering echoes
of dream-memory, last firing of synapses, fading color like graffiti that bleeds
from these walls, remnants of messages -- Bill-n-Ash 4ever -- scribbled on dark
nights, metal-ball shake of aerosol cans swallowed by crash of waves,

and guilty laughter. Ahead, silhouetted by sunlight, my mother waves
tentatively; she waits beneath the overhang where concrete
meets daylight, frayed pink blanket tucked beneath her arm; dark,
owlish sunglasses shade her eyes. I think she wonders what sudden storm
swirls beneath my tanned skin, what memory tangles in sun-pale hair and bleeds
through my pores. I walk towards her, shedding lingering echoes

of unease like peeling, sunburned skin as I breathe sudden brightness, echoes
of lazy summer footfalls on the boardwalk above; warmed coconut lotion rides waves
of heat-rippled air, comforting mirage that brings motion to stillness and bleeds
color from cloudless skies, bleaching the day as white as old concrete,
colorless backdrop for beachgoers strewn about like debris left when storm
surge recedes to gentle swells; bright keen of gulls overhead and the dark

reflection of sandpipers in calm shallows, slivers of clam shells, dark
valleys in patterned sand, footprints of shorebirds like visual echoes
at low-tide, frosted bits of sea-glass amid jetsam, gifts of some long-ago storm
tossed and carried ashore on the moonlit crest of restless waves.
Toes curled in warm sand, content, anchored, I contemplate the concrete
hollow of unrest I've left, the tunnel from which darkness bleeds.

In truth it's often those dark tunnels -- places of shifting shadows and bright waves
of fear, discordant echoes and sunless passages where damp concrete
spins a storm of unease -- we must cross, remembering it's only our courage that bleeds.

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If you're going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance!
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