Saturday, June 03, 2017

"Smoke and Gold: Cedar Key, 1988" by Joe Bolton

When a moon rises to moor the evening star,
The Gulf swells, making the distance to Texas
Irrevocable. . . .
                          There are ships out there
That say goodbye repeatedly in your sleep,
Ships that never arrived
Where someone might still stand waiting
On the far shore.

There is the magic Floridian hour
When the sea flashes with sunset,
When the sky becomes almost
Tangible in its painterliness, and memory
Rolls loaded dice across the waves. . . .

Still, in the soft metallic resonance of twilight,
The closest thing you have left to a soul
Is the smoke from your cigarette drifting out the window
Of a hotel room, number nine, and what little
You can remember of the little love you made.

And at night here there’s nothing to do
But lie down beside your lost self
And the lost selves of others you have lost . . .

—As the dark ghosts of ships
Sound their goodbyes, never arriving
                                                    at the far shore.

- Joe Bolton, from The Last Nostalgia

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