A sequence of modern sonnets. They actually constitute what’s called a crown: each poem begins with the final line of the previous one, and the final poem ends with the first line of the first poem. Thus, the crown–a completed circle. Read these aloud!
The kind of people who flock to this beach
Are those attracted to distractions, like
Infants, spellbound by color and bright lights.
Skeeball machines and go-kart tracks across
The street. A few blocks down, a video
Arcade with its wraparound marquee
Covered in thermoformed plastic carnival
Signs. “Life is Good,” a club’s billboard insists.
(Why the errant capitalization?)
Sunburned arms from playing miniature
Golf. Oh yeah, did I mention that there’s
A beach? // Adolescence brings disdain, and
Like a sugar rush yielding to ennui,
The beach became lesser: a sordid strip.
The beach became lesser—a sordid strip
Of sand set aside for intemperance
And little else. A sense that, somehow,
The water had waxed inane. Laughing gulls
Had yielded much, forfeiting feeding ground
To scavenging herring gulls who, in turn,
Forced them to beg for breadcrumbs: the oppressed
Of the postcolonial bird world. Lost
Innocence, dead like the shredded, viscid
Chunks of sea nettle and moon jellyfish
Punctuating the beach’s declination,
Rotting in thick and pungent coastal breezes.
By the time I returned, bearing sorrow’s weight,
The beach had become a locus of despair.
The beach had become a locus of despair
At its worst, and at its best, a kitschy
Relic of working-class ambition, like
Coney Island without the irony.
My parents leased a condominium
For one whole month but only stayed three weeks.
Why not, we thought, and drove I-65
South to finish what they’d started. Bright
Yellow ginkgo leaves at the state line;
Rocket at the rest stop. Oak and maple
Yielding to pines. Gaudy clapboard oyster
Shacks shuttered for the annual desertion.
Sunset on an empty beach is just like
Standing alone at the edge of the world.
Standing alone at the edge of the world,
Watching waves, rolling mirrors of the deep,
Rich copper dusk—against a sliver of
Protean coastline, stubborn yet yielding
Has its day. Distant depths register in
The chest, like a savory homesickness.
Salty wind stirs longings—a mystery.
The restaurants have no wait. Pesticides
Create dead zones; sea life at risk, reads
The article. Tell that to the eagle ray,
Whose joyous leap eludes the fisherman.
I don’t feel like a redneck. They say that’s
The kind of people who flock to this beach.