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Real-Time Poetry Project: 'A Storm on the Shore'

A haboob, as it strikes Phoenix, strikes the city in central Arizona at dusk
A haboob, as it strikes Phoenix, strikes the city in central Arizona at dusk
National Geographic

She leans into the sea
keening a song
from the Madonna Disneyland
of the deep as hailstones
ring white pins honed from Hawaii
and a tide of low pressure
rounds up upon the shore
of the Forty-Fifth parallel,
a crowny curtain of thorns
Unknowing from the unquiet
slumbers of lost ships
still melting in icy currents
below the surface,
the seagulls scatter
and defecate upon her:
Rise, O rise, storms across America
Your plastic passions await you
as cars stream in from the Orient
and gas passes through your ports
of entry, pleased, as they are
from the total penetration
of the perfect plan
Star of India, our captains
catch colds in the bowlegged
polarities of warm seas
and freezing skies
The sun, well-timed,
is a clock-face ticking,
hidden from our view
America, may the tilted jet stream
blow a gale of Goth up your nose
May the ocean rise and plaster
a new continent where truth,
chased in the wind, wakes
the ghost dancers from
the Pacific to the Atlantic
Before the living dead can get out of bed
Shipwrecked sailors
found lost at sea
discovered homes
in their own faces,
in bindles of woody words
crushed to hand-length bits
After forty days of fire,
forty days of rain,
the northwesterly El Nino
sheared shanks of wind
off the Oregon coast,
then brought a low blow
to slap the soiled temples
of the City of Angels
Driftwood is piled b‘fore desire
against sandy beach stumps
and stop gaps, infinite and wise:
Infinity stopped here for a day,
a deluge for the dead,
so I could admire
our wood chips,
our broken bones
A winter-long wind shear
plucked the breath
from my pressurized lungs,
turning my fire to water.
I floated some, then burst,
mounted a floating oar
then sank into an orb
of sand
The sun, beyond the grey wail,
shaped a man inside here,
inside this calamity of clams;
one-part plastic,
one-part fishhook,
a bonny redwood mast,
a skull & crossbones flying,
walking the plank on dry land
without an anchor, who cares?
Setting these banalities
of life aside, let me perscribble:
Glass floats on the beach,
I've found, and the ebb-tide
of the avenues are a roar
of trucks in the rain
On Tuesdays, Great Food
is closed in a seaside town;
and what a tree lacks,
the wind whispers;
and loving couples
strand tennis shoes
on the frosty morning shores
as missiles are clicked
into load in the underground
caverns of Iran. Also this:
The electric truth sheds
the oil slick skin off the CIA
and sickened seagulls
reel in the ninety mile winds
and Pennsylvania miners
with black lung bibles
defuse the threat
with another tragic
mind blast
The sun goes up
and Mercury goes
into retrograde
as our satellite's
telescopic echo fades
and techno-pop
becomes the sea
in which we wade
The camera's eye
is just a catch
for this cuckoo cluck house,
our mourning latch
and what is least
is that which lasts
as buzzard gulls sift
through black morning trash
and I try to unlearn
this noisy cache
of highway moms
speeding by bullet blasts
and taxi driver Thanatoss plants
look like gods in camouflage pants
Glass floats on the beach,
it's endless, at last!
The end is coming near
and it's coming here fast
It's time to drink
from the pirate's flask
and toast a tune
to all of that glass,
to the sun, the sky,
the nuclear smash,
the currents, the past,
the pounding surf,
the manic search
for meaning and gas,
the molten glow,
the melting snow,
the rivers that run
through those who know ...
Glass floats on the beach,
the ebb is endless,
it's here, at last

~ The lyrics above, originally included in a book by Douglas McDaniel, "Forty Days of Fire, Forty Days of Rain," were later utilized for a song by the musical troupe, Bards of Mythville.