November 29th, 2010 -- "Life in the Sun, 1894"

"Life in the Sun, 1894"

Todd placed his tools in the dirty dry of the wood bin, the heavy things hitting the cracking, splintering planks with a heavy metal clank, a hollow plop and metallic tumble as they rolled over each other awkwardly in a slide to the leaned side of the rusty cart, the dipped end frying in the sun and mixing in the brightness of it all in a near-white beige like a far off dynamite fire. Shade cut the shape of the box in sharp triangles that led off and out of the cart to the cooling ground beneath. Far off sounds of many bugs in heat filled the sweating air with an electric, living hum, a moving buzz with frantic shifts in tone, a sound with a smell.

It was 1894, he was thirty-six years old, and Grover Cleveland was the president of the nation. Todd had purchased the plot of land he was working as part of an expanded, free, labor deal that allowed for the buying of land on the cheap for the purposes of cultivating a thriving, rural economy in otherwise arid, tough regions - places of grit and salt, places where you grow things far in the damp ground deep down under the dry tops near the sun.

Potatoes. Peanuts. Legumes. Tubers. Candy from the planet that will turn a buck pretty slowly and steadily until there is no hot weather left in the tank, until the water from the world tosses itself up and into the air and comes back down in the frigid snap of winter as bright white, a hoary toss down a windy flume that puts all activity to sleep for months.

Sweating, Todd pulled liquid off the back of his neck with one hand while swiping away the cooling wet on his chest under the sun-bleached bandana around his neck. He pulled at the fingers of his gloves, took them off, clapped them together, and tossed them into the cart with the tools. Black, glossy leather and worn patches of light brown animal skin heated immediately in the bright in the back of the cart as Todd picked up the rig by the handles.

Two o'clock hot, wood wheels bolstered by plates and pins over blasted rocks, the shifting sounds of shoes that need a cobbler, dust-colored everything.

Todd walked home, ate an early supper, and spent the rest of the hot evening on the porch with a stinky pipe, smoking slowly and watching the nineteenth century count away before nightfall.


November 28th, 2010, not to mention some previously neglected works from the past two weeks or so...

"The Ocean as a Comfortable and Forced Transition"

The wonder in his mind and in his head in the sand by the sea was made huge by the tides of water lapping in hushed pulls as he sat - or, better - sank in sand, the sand the last smile of the land before cupping or being cupped by the ocean. The great sun in the sky screened the beach in a film of hazy, salt yellow that made everything leading to the water feel very close and very hot, made from some gel of the land, some firm, juiced air with a body smell and real weight, a substance that could be better used to describe the junk pulled away from sleepy eyes in the heat of a room before noon, the lisping smack of a morning mouth thick with old spit and the taste of yesterday's garlic.

He had arrived at a line of change, an event marked by the animated horizon of dark and clear, salty liquid, the line of the land with regard to the sea, the cut and overlap of old water made new by movement, all swirls of excited, bubbled air and swells of cold water from the blind, silent deep.

There was a freshness, here, a dark collection of pools bright cold above packed, ancient mud. In a line, the air changed from thick and close and buzzing to something ultimately cleaner, something more open on the water with a missing weight, a misty day of blue gray clean backed by the electric pop of light behind floating water. Walk into that water to cut the line and feel the halving, the distinct split from bright discomfort and entrance into a coldly spraying clean, a curing mist that would dew lightly on top of small arm hairs to mix temperatures with the traveling blood below.

Pulling himself up and out of the sticking sand, the man clapped the bumpy dust from his hands and thighs. He bladed away patches of itchy salt from tanned dips in his shoulder bones and thought about the long walk through land that had come to this line, this forced place where things change without so much of a plan to consider it expected or good or bad or anything subjective like that. White turned blue, hot into clean cool. He got to his feet and stretched, the sun swearing into his back and sweat with a gradual, burning yawn, the ocean ahead of him roaring in an impossibly large and flat pile of much and dark, comforting weight. He neared the edge, there a filling wind, the hinted connection to the streams of quick and moving whispers offshore that travel along waves in bumped trajectories, purposeless, completely benign and without forced direction. In with a dive.


November 14th - 27th, more or less...


November 15th, 2010 -- "Forever Celebrating"

"Forever Celebrating"

The blue black darkwater in the ocean turns emerald green and then white with a hush as it sweeps over dots of sand packed wet and hard in a flat cake to make up a salty ocean bar. The sky, a smack of pale, comfortable periwinkle, sits high and large and unobtrusively in the sky on the brink of the cosmos, playing as a kind of watcher, some kind of backdrop slapped back as far as it could be to hold everything that's real or far off in one large and blue sound that could not ever become confused or be confused for anything else.

The smells are everywhere. The churning of the ocean at the end of its lap, the salty smell of waves giving up to gravity and falling with a slap of water on rocks and sand. The cool smell, the clear smell of water dripping in the dark places between jetty breakers, the clear sting of the water's drop's life in a brief salt whiff before dropping in and mixing with everything forever. Everything is clear.

The young woman dressed in a warm-black swipe of deep and heated cloth stands barefoot in the drier piles of beige by the dunes, bits of lime green and dead grasses folded or twisted into soft bends that poke for a time through the soft of the beach earth before being shifted by clean feet that hang down naked from garments made for celebration. Some distance beyond the dunes are the beginnings of feasts being righted in circles of stone dug down inches into the salty shakes of the beach. Adults, groups of sweating men and focused women, gather in crouches by the bright beginnings of bonfires and add things in piles to smoke. They grab at ingredients with dark, smooth hands. For all the motion, there is hardly a sound above the constant sharing of the sea.

Above, a star gleams yellow through the dying soft blue of the mid-afternoon in a pinpoint and flickers in place to herald in the night.