Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beached Boat Bleached Bones


This washed up boat could very easily have belonged to the place between two islands, though I found it on the other side of an ocean from there... and soon it too will disintegrate into the marsh, the rib bones of this beached whale will vanish without a trace... in my lifetime, maybe, in my children's lifetime, probably...
The weathered wood with orange lichen was beautiful, this derelict boat is a sublime tribute to man's ephemeral nature...
..Between Two Islands
This has been brewing for a long time…
For centuries now ?
Or maybe just a minute or two ?
The span of my life ?
When was that ?
Since birth I have traveled in time
But I always return when it’s time to be still
To the place between two islands
I know where it is
Those of you who know me
May guess where it is
You strangers out there
Who will never read this
And never know me
(Why would you want to ?)
Will never know where it is
Maybe it doesn’t exist at all
I dreamed it, dreamed it up, dreamed it down
But whatever the case, upper case, lower case, staircase
Mental case for a case worker
It is a place we all need
A place we should be able
To dream of, dream about
A place we should all be able to go to
However impossible that may be
And I hope I never see you there
You hungry hordes hunched over your hotlines
Your coffee cups your super VGA monitors
Your newspapers your highways your movies
Your money your madness
I bannish you all to endless night
If you know not how to dream
If you yearn for nothing more
Than membership in the hungry horde
Good god, go take your gold card
And buy the membership
Membership has privileges you know
With every purchase you grow farther
From the place between two islands
And that is how it should be
I don’t want to see you there
And there must never be a parking lot
No hot dog vendor on the site
Of my grandfather’s grave
He lies nearby and listens
When the mist falls on the marsh
In the breaking dark before dawn
He walks with the fog
He knows the cattail dance
And could show you the blackbird’s nest
Or where the turtle sleeps
He could reveal many such secrets
But chooses not to now
The long sleep was too enticing
My grandmother could tell you
She knows many tales
But spends her days dreaming
Of the long sleep
And is already more than half way there
The last time I saw her she hardly knew me
I had to tell her I am your child’s child
The child of your child
A faint light flickered of understanding
In her hazy eyes
And then she asked me if
I had graduated from high school yet
Me nearly thirty three
One day soon she will slip
Into the long sleep
And walk with the fog before dawn
That hangs thick on the marsh
Stirred by the whispering breeze
In the place between two islands
What has always amazed me the most
For a short while each time I return
And follow the sandy trail through the woods
To the point where it forks and one side
The one hardly ever traveled by
Leads out into the marsh
To the first island
Which is where you first start to notice
How quiet it is out there
Your feet make little noise
On the sand and pine needles
Even the occasional call of a jay or cardinal is muted
The sense of stillness, the serenity, is stunning
But what amazes me given the proximity
To certain large cities
Is that once you emerge
From the cedars and pines
On the first island
Into the space between two islands
There is no sign of man
No road. No houses. No telephone poles.
No billboards, hotels, motels, restaurants .
Not a single fence.
Rarely a vapor trail follows a barely audible jet
High away above the islands
But the people up there
Are too ensconced in their martinis and novels
And fear of falling out of the sky
To even suspect what dreamland
Lies below them
No sign of man
The eye drinks in the thick green bands
Of the pine woods on the far island
And the pine, cedar, and holly of the woods
Way down on the far side of the marsh
But mainly the golden sea of marshgrass and cattails
Broken only by the lone juniper halfway
Between two islands
The space seems vast
The sky above equally so
Vast and still and no sign of man
This may be the only place
I have ever known real peace
In houses there is always something
That needs doing
We become slaves at home
To all the trappings of modern life
That we have learned we can’t live without
Our computers and VCRs and ovens
The rented movies the phone that rings and rings
The mirrors and clothes and books
The nagging sense that time is escaping
Time that brings each personal reckoning day
A little closer
The working world is an incessant nightmare
Driven by cancerous greed
Governed by constant stress
Full of days spent peering into haunted eyes
Faces where the pain is pathetic to see
People who gave up so much for so little
Apart from home and work
What else is there ?
I don’t go to church
I can’t stomach such monstrous lies
Pious fools steeped in pure invention
The world of entertainment is hollow too
Brief sustenance the stuff of illusions
We have become a race that lives
For the next movie
The next distraction to help us forget
The worthlessness of our age
And there is nothing you can buy
In any mall or mail order department store
That is going to help you
That will ease the burden
No drink no drug will make a difference
It is all still there when you come out of the coma
Great art will sometimes inspire
Calm and hope
That somehow things will get better
But unless you are very wealthy
You generally cannot surround yourself
With fine art and must observe it
Somewhere where you are not alone
The only place I have known
True and rejuvenating solitude
Has been walking in the marsh
Between two islands
In recent years
I am the only one to venture there
The trail across the stretch of marsh
Before the first island is usually wet
And overgrown, not to mention
The mosquitos that could eat a man alive
In the hot coastal summers
But I go in the fall and winter
And spring, the cooler times
The frozen time in the winter
When you can walk
Out across the marsh away from the trail
Without worrying about sinking in
Up to your knees
Once while looking around
Out on the far island
I found an old spring trap
Sign that some other human had passed this way
But did he know it as I do
Did he love it for what it is
This place between two islands ?
Did he ever sit by the juniper
In the middle of the marsh
And watch the sunset turn the sky
Over the distant woods
Into a blaze of molten gold
Riches beyond a bankers wildest dream
No gold card privilege
Will ever open the door for you
On such unequaled bliss
Get in your Oldsmobile and drive all day
You will never find a place like this
Between two islands
Give up go home
I don’t want to see you
Or any of the hungry horde
Set foot here, this is sacred ground
There is no McDonald’s
And Domino’s won’t deliver here
No cold beer to go
Nowhere to go from here
This is the end of the line
And the peace is overwhelming
In the place between two islands


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