A Summer Writing Workshop
A stranger comes to town, meaning someone, somewhere
has left open a gate to this wasteland, this beach town with streets of
Once Upon a Breeze (kites), La Luna Loca (dresses),
Starfish Art (art) and Haystack Bakery (bread). Roving bands
of twelve year old kids from the Christian Conference sneak
along the streets, look for candy bars to steal.
In a coffee shop called Bella Cafe
I turn invisible when a student enters.
He tries likewise but I see.
The poet says a poem is
a breath sculpture.
A funny kind of lonely, waiting
for something you know won't happen.
I don't do the crossword puzzle, don't drink
the strong coffee. Sometimes all you can do
is move through the world, fall in step
with someone else, bump
bodies, go wide around those
who rest. Sometimes you don't see
that they are dead.
You think the smell
comes from your own body,
a funny kind of lonely.
Late at night the poet walks past Bella Cafe in a baseball cap,
but because he is Jewish and carries a mess of papers
and is a poet, the baseball cap doesn't make him look stupid.
The beach town is full of writers and the Christians turn
uneasy in their sleep. Bella Cafe is amok with the sound
of abandoned poems, lost in the grit and dust beneath
tables, baristas sweep, words hide, weep, whisper. Erato freaks out,
evokes rain. The tourists will be cranky. The students
try to catch the rain to drink, get drunk
and leave a mess behind, puzzles undone, tips
in odd amounts, pages
on rental cottage floors,
on the outside of windows
all over town.