Sunday, August 10, 2014

Getting Well // Scene on a Pier // Reading a poem feels like this

At times, reading a poem feels like this: I’m on a crowded pier and a seal slips through the water like a hallucination. After days of being sick, long days with no food or water, touching death, there is then this glimmer of wellness, when simply paying attention and having attention feels great. The wind blows, pushing the waves to a certain slant, flapping my t-shirt. Tourists flow by and talk in all kinds of languages and accents. There’s a dance party being broadcast through neon-lit headphones and people are bobbing up and down. Two fishermen get their lines caught, then one untangles the lines, and his friend gives the thumbs up to the other guy. Pairs of people sweet talk and kiss. An old couple is making out hard on a bench. The water is made of waves. I think about the enormity of the sea and the long journeys ships take to Asia. I picture my position in this crowd of people at the edge, the edge’s edge of the Pacific, and wonder what that seal thinks of all of us. A line from Hart Crane’s poem "Voyages" appears like it always does: “that vast undinal belly.” I pull out my phone and look up the meaning of undinal and think how it was the perfect word. Wouldn’t be the same if it was the vast undulatory belly or the vast wave-filled belly. There - the seal again. When a simple scene simply unfolding feels perfect, life reads as poetry instead of prose.


Thomas Sanchez said...

hey this is sick.

Steve T. said...

Such a good post about what it's like finding pleasure in words. Reminds me to go back to them more often. Thanks.