Poem: Alki Beach Wall

A poem from the larger collection, An Autumn for Kora Mao.

September 15, 2017

Alki Beach Wall, Seattle, Washington


As if providing the shoulder the sun

if the sun a blotch of bright alga.

Dogs scruffly communicate and it’s timely.

Matches the hijacking sling of silk

and a specter spider’s upward crawl.

This realm as much about maybe

as it is certainty, data, science.

A slickened gray gull must be curious.

Must be begging for the innards, secrets

of a bag of plastic, gimme’d goals.

An exercise is constraint in Autumnal air

sitting like a bandage on top of us all.

On top of the observation pier, fishermen,

and a cruise ship pouting past, droning,

while the Olympics hold court

on their own precious slab of Sound.

(For it’s as much an earthly endeavor as . . . )


So in the comfort of the plumpest kelp

I wander toward genocides and asterisks.

I dream day-lit the open bottles

exposed like flesh to the sky’s curves.

It is a channeling and there is caution.

Be aware of the forgiveness of Earth.

Be calm in the presence of shifting plates,

shifting smiles, postures, aches, speeds.

Kayaks, tankers, waves, cranes, color,

an entire skyline imprisoned before us,

an entire us imprisoned before skyline.

Or is confinement focus and precious gaze?

The gull returns gliding and bobbing.

Is its half-stare my own mirrored?

Ask the objective sources of thought.

Humans on their skateboards, paddleboards,

inflatable chairs, city benches,

or even this ancient, decaying stone wall.

Ask of them where the sun will go

and what light it will lead about,

cast like the fishing line in grace.


Oh Alki and your truest blues,

Alki and your complacent bemusement,

capability to upturn and cast inward,

the line that will throw me into the Sound,

the salt to pressure me and my words,

the ice-like temperature to suck me down,

to hold me under and hold my breath,

to keep me bobbing as the world erupts,

to place me before thousands of sunsets,

watery basin of prison and protection,

endless selfie that grows and morphs,

the portrait, Alki, that sits and moves,

all the same as though transmortal,

transmutation among a landscape of oh!


Alki you open and close at once,

as solid and as liquid you triumph,

a poignant and pointed engagement,

surviving and causing us to survive,

or is it me now, jester to Olympic Court?

Suddenly available in bulk of mood?

This aquatic palace challenges.

It is a place, Alki, of knowing.

And as we know, we drown.

And as we drown, we fight.

And as we fight, we float.

And suddenly we are flying,

outrageous dancers with visions,

traces of horizon balanced with forgiveness,

our wings the fluttering bird of conversation,

consequences with the blessing of rage and peace,

collided with the firm and the raw

and the free unstunted by the journey,

unfaulted by the process of the purpled past.

In this height, a righteous rest

knowing I am of the same air of the waves,

of the same language of glorious time,

of pink fragments in a gold and blue West,

where the moments are the clouds

surrounding me in their mighty chanting,

a bounty of exceptional texture.


Alki, it is through you this message sits

received by all and none the same,

worth all and nothing at once,

singular beauty in crescent and morph,

oh, Alki, the flush of our breaths

rushes like the best lessons,

the festive pressures of a Pacific Now.

Nowness as the rest we dream loud

and seismic, to settle nerves,

and nowness the quiet lasting,

letting in the shake of praised space.

Alki to be through and through so

and slowly and each word awaken.

Each pace a splash and each splash

a single, iterated kiss slashing

to mash against smotherable boulders,

while moans of fish travel the depths

owning the postponement of seriousness

and keep the world from getting older

and this position is colder, notably.