Archives for posts with tag: beach

Ruth on beach
Safety
by Ruth Bavetta

My grandmother would tie a rope
around my waist so I wouldn’t drown
in the green-fringed swells
that murmured and gurgled around the rocks.

She stood on dry sand, marooned
with her crutches, giving me freedom
with the one hand, safety with the other.
I floated naked in the water, sloshing
to and fro in the rhythm of the sea.

The waters spoke to me
when I was a measure only partly filled.
They called to me and sang
and I didn’t need to understand,
because I knew.

Here, in the inland garden,
I do not hear that song. Here,
I am dry and speechless, left
to stumble in the garments of experience
where no line leads to understanding.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo is from about 1938. Laguna was quiet and beautiful then.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was a kid, my grandmother had a cottage almost on the sand at Laguna Beach. She was crippled by arthritis and couldn’t have run into the water to save me, so she did what she could.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Bavetta is an artist and poet whose poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, and Poetry New Zealand, and many others. Her work is included in four anthologies. She has published three books, Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press) Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press) and Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press.). She loves the light on November afternoons, the smell of the ocean, a warm back to curl against in bed. She hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.

sue feldberg
Gleanings
by Scott Edward Anderson

Look at the two of them, bent
to the early morning tide.
Culling glass from the gritty surf.
Strange and wonderful alchemists,
who search for the elusive blue
of medicine bottles, caressing
emerald imitators from “Old Latrobe,”
or amber sea urchins
left there like whelks at low tide.

They discard broken bits of crockery,
forsaken jetsam of the sands.
Beach glass is opaque
with a false clarity:
Polished by sand and sea,
the edges don’t cut
like our lives, lived elsewhere,
out beyond the last sandbar,
where plate tectonics rule the waves.

PHOTO: “Sea Glass Heart” by Sue Feldberg. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  “Gleanings” was written in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and first appeared in an anthology called Under a Gull’s Wing: Poems and Photographs of the Jersey Shore and later in my book, Fallow Field. It was written for two good friends, Jim Supplee and Diane Stiglich, with whom I’d been vacationing “down the shore.” Diane and Jim loved collecting shells and beach glass from the beach and my poem began, quite literally, with the image of the two of them bent over scanning the sand and took off from there.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Edward Anderson is the author of Fallow Field (Aldrich Press, 2013) and Walks in Nature’s Empire (The Countryman Press, 1995). He has been a Concordia Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and received the Nebraska Review Award. His work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, The Cortland Review, Many Mountains Moving, Nebraska Review, Pine Hills Review, Terrain, Yellow Chair Review, and The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody, 2013), among other publications.

AUTHOR PHOTO:  The author and his wife on Brighton Pier, Brighton, England, Summer 2014

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teenagers down the shore
by win harms

memories of the ocean
sweet spring sweat trickles down my forehead
the sand stings my legs, as a crosswind
creeps up from behind
the salty sea is cold, numbing my bare feet
i hear my friends giggling ahead
and i laugh for no reason at all
you look at me and smile that secret smile
and for one moment we are alone in this
i can’t remember the taste of you
but i know i’ll understand you again
i get higher with the thoughts of days to come
we are sleepy with excitement
last night is so incredibly far away
we were older then, parading like sophisticates
we are young again, spinning in the sun
the past doesn’t matter and
the skeletons don’t feel like dancing
i am mapping out my life
and i want to see you there
with your eyes sparkling like the sea
we walk the boardwalk with the wind in our hair
creating everlasting impressions in time

Photo: “Summer Down the Shore” by funflash, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (16×20 metallic prints available at etsy.com)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: win harms is a poet living in France with her professor husband. She hails from the state of the cowboy poetry contest, but she has lived pretty much everywhere, including many psych wards, and considers herself a survivor of the struggle. The chaos has ceased and now she spends her time doing needlepoint and laundry, but longs to share her words with the world. As of last year, she left her roaring twenties, and is now feeling fecund and free. “Teenagers Down the Shore” and other poetry by win harms appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at Amazon.com.

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THE GULL
by Madeline Tiger

The huge grey gull
over the Jersey Turnpike
steely as Amtrak

crosses long above this
congestion, soars
toward the seashore

his wings waving slowly

His beak points beyond
our dull metal,
grey as we’ve made him

He’s traversing our lines
of bright cars, hot motors
rushed and stalled
in their own fumes

Far up he glides, he is
pointing to shining water,

to the waves that glisten –
ripples, breakers
with fierce bursting crests—
and when he squawks out there,

his cry leaves a whiteness
in the mind of the driver

…From The Earth Which is All by Madeline Tiger, 2008 (featured in the New York Times article “Selected Works by New Jersey Poets,” 1/2/2009)

Photo: “Seagulls at the Jersey Shore” by Amy Pospiech

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teenagers down the shore
by win harms

memories of the ocean
sweet spring sweat trickles down my forehead
the sand stings my legs, as a crosswind
creeps up from behind
the salty sea is cold, numbing my bare feet
i hear my friends giggling ahead
and i laugh for no reason at all
you look at me and smile that secret smile
and for one moment we are alone in this
i can’t remember the taste of you
but i know i’ll understand you again
i get higher with the thoughts of days to come
we are sleepy with excitement
last night is so incredibly far away
we were older then, parading like sophisticates
we are young again, spinning in the sun
the past doesn’t matter and
the skeletons don’t feel like dancing
i am mapping out my life
and i want to see you there
with your eyes sparkling like the sea
we walk the boardwalk with the wind in our hair
creating everlasting impressions in time

Photo: “Summer Down the Shore” by funflash, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (16×20 metallic prints available at etsy.com)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: win harms is a poet living in France with her professor husband. She hails from the state of the cowboy poetry contest, but she has lived pretty much everywhere, including many psych wards, and considers herself a survivor of the struggle. The chaos has ceased and now she spends her time doing needlepoint and laundry, but longs to share her words with the world. As of last year, she left her roaring twenties, and is now feeling fecund and free. “Teenagers Down the Shore” and other poetry by win harms appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at Amazon.com.

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PYNCHON AT CRAIGVILLE BEACH

by Rodger Jacobs

Thomas Pynchon had been engaged in a hard-fought wrestling match with a character in the new book he was writing; it was the central character, in fact, and the sonofabitch kept eluding Pynchon’s descriptive skills.

Pynchon’s wife offered a solution over breakfast one morning. She had made his favorite: pancakes shaped like rocket ships.

“I think the character sounds a lot like you,” she said. “Just meditate on yourself in some abstract manner. Think about how you would describe yourself as a character.”

After breakfast Pynchon felt a depression coming on. He decided to take a leisurely summer drive. That usually scared the darkening shadows away.

Before long Pynchon found himself on Route 6, headed into Cape Cod. He drove to Craigville Beach and parked the car in a public lot adjacent to the sand and surf. At Four Seas Ice Cream he pondered his wife’s advice over a scoop of vanilla.

A stroll to the beach was in order after his tasty frozen treat. At the border where the asphalt met the wet sand, Pynchon removed his shoes and socks, placed them in one hand, and stepped into the cold, wet sand. He felt the sand squish between his toes.

He stood staring into the deep waters, trying to conjure up his qualities, both good and bad. He started with his physical qualities and didn’t get very far. He was, he calculated, physically average for a man his age. Lifestyle? Nothing too lavish. Intellectual prowess? Well, that depends on what the critics and the academics are saying lately. But aside from his success as a novelist, everything else in his life came out to just about average. Normal. Healthy. Respectable. He was talented, yes, he knew that, but once he extracted that from the equation…

“Damn,” he said with a sigh. “I’m nondescript.”

ABOUT THE STORY: “Pynchon at Craigville Beach” by Rodger Jacobs  is from a section entitled “Writers at the Shore,” part of a volume of Jacobs’ collected short pieces called Invisible Ink hailed as “the most exemplary L.A. book of 2012” by CityWatch L.AThe story will appear in the Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY, available by June 21, 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Rodger Jacobs has won multiple awards and grants for his work as a journalist, documentary writer and producer, screenwriter, playwright, magazine editor, true crime writer, book critic and columnist for PopMatters, and live event producer. In 2010, he provided the preface and original inspiration for Jack London: San Francisco Stories (Sydney Samizdat Press). He is the author of the novel The Furthest Palm, published by Silver Birch Press in 2012.

Photo: “Craigville Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts” by xpucmok, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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ENDLESS SUMMERS
by Joan Jobe Smith

Those endless summers when my son
and his buddies were too young
to drive a car, I packed as many
boy-men sardines that would fit
into my VW Bug and drove them
to the Surf Theater in Huntington Beach
to see surf movies, The Endless Summer,
Saltwater Wine and when the surf was Up,
they strapped as many surfboards as the VW
surf racks would hold and I drove them
to the Huntington Beach Pier where they
learned the poetry of the sea, sailed
aquamarine and spindrift soup
while I lay on the sand
studying for grad school exams
trying to make something of myself
and tried not to wish I were one of them
and then all the way home I listened to
their teen-aged a-b-c’s of “awesome,”
“boss” and “cool,” the salt and
sun turning their hair golden till
autumn and time to go back to school
 
and now my son and his buddies,
the age I was back then, their sun-streaked
hair grown-up dark while they try to make
something of themselves, come surfing now
to get back into shape and my son
brings his children now to show them
the way of the waves, those endless summers
and those sonnets of sun, sea and salt
going on and on as endless as
always.

ABOUT THE POEM: “Endless Summers” by Joan Jobe Smith dedicated to her son, former surfer Danny Bryan Horgan, was first published after award of first prize in Surfer Magazine‘s 1997 poetry competition, and next appeared in Pearl (2000). In 2009, the poem received a Long Beach (California) Arts Council City Transit Award and is on permanent display at the Long Beach First Street Transit Gallery. In 2013, 48th Street Press will publish the poem as a broadsheet. The poem will appear in the upcoming Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY (June 2013).