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Curling Waves

October 12, 2011


Toward the shore waves roll and unroll,

sprung level, loosened from the cunning grip

of plastic curlers as if the laboring Chinese

who clipped those round, green, blue, and grey

contraptions cursed: paid to sail just this far, no further.


Contrary, flat as my hair, waves  reject

rastafarian fashion this sun-glazed wading day.

Ancient, unkempt, sparse and loose,

lank they lie across a horizontal noon

oblivious to weaves and gels.


In China workers repeat their motions dry

miles from tidal pools. Their own hair hidden

under wraps will whiten later, not now,

not within their sadly repetitious time-ticks

not folded into glamour mags where they smile.


But are we not all alike, you ask?

Indeed. We all want flowing curls unless by some

grief of genes they manifest at birth.

At the age of sex, oh iron it flat. Which is to

say, contraptions shape desires of every sort,


and  I proclaim the sea a dream contraption,

a sieve through which we squeezed

four-limbed and handy, to harvest credit cards, artful

wars, waving symbols upon the pock-marked moon.

Where could mermen dwell now?


Where have limber mermaids fled lugging

lank wet weeds, who before their crude diáspora

urged their smiling strong-armed mates

to propagate old myths and fairy tales

beneath the humping stallion waves?


to suffer decades for their dismal pensions:

engraved gold curlers, a bag of bitter salt.




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