Digging for crabs at the beach

“Watch,” he said, and he was digging,
with a plastic cup,
timing the scoops just right,
so in the moment before a wave,
when the sand was still wet from the last one,
he was digging.

It was the standard scene: the tide,
the gulls and salt.
How long did Man stand at this frontier,
having reached the absolute limit,
until the first ships tore through the screen,
and the beach became a beginning?
But I was just a boy, playing here for a day.

“Look!” he said, and in the cup,
I saw a scoop of sand, and some water
he’d collected. And — there —
a small crustacean, scrambling for an exit.
“They live inside the sand.”

He repeated this routine and I watched,
two boys, crouched at the edge of the sea.
But for one plastic cup, we could have been
a million boys, digging on beaches
before history, lost in the understanding
that everything — everything is alive.

The Dabbs

Argyle socks, cozy stoned cats,
lick the ankles of my beloved.
Running through the Texas night
in her panties and socks,
past torchlight and painted sheets,
she eyes me out across
her gracious orbit.

I commemorate the porch
of a railroad hotel,
where metal groans, and cows
bellow at night in the middle distance.
At first, alone, the smell of mud,
as meaning — as words —
collapse and explode,
collapse and explode.
A thousand sunsets a minute —
burned through the Film
by a righteous mushroom mango lhassi.

Now my lover on vicodin approaches,
settles next to me in the Texas air.
She speaks to me through syrup
of permanence and cats,
permanence and cats,
until words
spiral back to me,
haphazard.

Shearing time

In Mexico a baby’s crying, crying,
In Calcutta, the cattle step and groan.
And north, off Ellesmere’s broken haunches,
Aurorae color empty ocean bone.

Tick-tock, the algae’s started blooming,
Shave a minute off the sentence handed down.
Put a staple in the ear of your beloved
So you’ll recognize her when she comes around.

Tick-tock-tick, the windows all are closing.
A flash of birds, a distant cry of goats…
Something walks among us, arms spread open.
Its bony snout is nuzzling your throat.

      Waters recede
      The gasping fish
      The collapsing star

In countries which your children never heard of,
The outbreak starts. It shudders off its sleep.
Ten thousand years of gentle irritation:
It’s time now for the shearing of the sheep.

The many become one, and are increased by one.

Ash is in the air
All the little children are leaving.
Look around you:
the last great migration’s
begun.

There was never a promise
– no rainbow from God –
that we would die in a warm feather bed.
All the businessmen melt,
and the generals huddle.
They’re at their best when the meat
begins to boil.

A woman at the spaceport
sniffs the air and gags.
West wind is coughing pine,
the ruptured muck of forests:
grub-flesh stink and blister-singe.

Ash swarms down like hornets.

Then the asphalt heaves,
and in the whipping trees
the monkeys, pissing, howl!
at the great machines. This is

not another Ice Age.
Plant your feet – you can feel it spinning
It is the violet doorway
the vortex through the Human.

Something wafts above the stinking hordes,
survives.