Poem ” Seaweed ” with animation gif


Celebrate away
from creaky boardwalk where
gray ocean turns green from blue
for clammers to leave wet sand,
for parents gone bad
to demand dead shells, ashtrays
painted in decorative innocence by
little ones tangled in seaweed

She could have been one
who stood away from splinters
walked on boards shod in
ruby slippers like a kid
not old, not smoking, not jaded

The ocean washed the body
where decay could smell,
a scent of death
like formaldehyde

Iris grabbed my arm
in a sad cuddle slacking
had me
walk with her on
the boardwalk where
she asked the detective,
who is dead; she
wanted to look under
where the stench lay

Describe your friend he said
and who is this person with you

A neighbor only
I was, a shell in sorrow, but
she was desperate
for favors
and money I didn’t have

He said she’s not your friend
no match

I am
not her friend, and
she is not yet dead herself

The scent of death
repels me
like the ashtray
my parents hated

I say hi
from a distance
where seaweed grows
away from the scent
of her death
coming not
in the semen of me
an aloof swimmer, but
in scum to come.

Heard her giggle yesterday
under the boardwalk–
ah the joys
of prostitution on a Monday
lunging for dollars, and
Reality TV is talking
to her cunning agent

I think I’ll stay
above board to
celebrate with
honeysuckle Rose
’cause she sucks well
while the tide goes out


Poem ” Leftovers ” with gif animation

Leftovers in Penn Station

I harvest the coins on

dream trees you leave

to me discarded

alone in

dark fields of grainy visions

In a night of loose change

half a Washington, or his quarter

would spare me,

an honest failure, the

vomit of recitation:

working hard for former wives

and the progeny of broken diaphragms

betrayed as though enemy or jinx by

those traitors, those devils plotting,

betrayed by an accident, a pneumonia

falling off the Bridge,

tragic like your nightmares,

(knives missing from your kitchen)

the ones I live out for you.  For a dollar

I’ll give you sweet dreams

and my worthless blessing.  In return

feign respect for me

that I may pretend

I’m worth a dollar dollop

of a meat and potato pancake

covered with apple grateful sauce or

this night watch your dreams carefully

for my nightmares.


When Storms Cry Out, Cry In (with picture)

The Shack

Poems About Hurricane Irene

When Storms Cry Out, Cry In

To the beach
she was called to bless
the lifeguard shack
anchored in the sand

The lifeguards had laughed, expecting some incense,
hadn’t known her son had drowned, not known
her hope was jettisoned in the ocean, while
she had searched for potions of resurrection

She had begun her vocation with grit,
had tried to summon any spirit of his
when other ghosts came in the wash
and she had never seen him again —
had tumble-down cried out
cried in, for
her son had drowned

As a joke, to the shack
the lifeguards summoned her, a
psychic of some sort, they thought
the night before the storm

But she had cried in
cried out, must have known their guilt

No one would boast
they had seen the ghost,
though charming Irene
was a namesake

She’d stay alone for meditation
and chanting into the waves, only
the eldest shuddering when she said,
“I’ll lock up when I’m done.” He
remembered the one trapped in the shack
in the storm heard only as “THE ONE”

She went up to the roof
to look at the stars
and they departed with their vodka and beer

Irene heard howls from the bathroom
as foam surrounded the shack
a smell of seaweed and of a fisherman’s corpse

A psychic of some sort
she was washed out to sea,
crying out
crying in

Come to the light, Mom
he said, and

now every foamy year
with seaweed and corpses
a shack and a lifeguard are lost

—Douglas Gilbert



a little girl carried an umbrella
everyday to the school with the dust,
a hardhat found a restaurant menu
and an unopened package of children’s bibs

After fallen jumper cables,
cables, beams, jumpers, bodies
heat and fire, fallen
firefighters, police, hardhats,
lady’s hat with feathers

an orphan, a widow, and
for son and daughter
mother and father
the end of them
in dust, in vapor

A little girl carried an umbrella to school:
she is afraid —
her mother took her home from school
through a crowd of silent strangers,
no one knew what to say, but
she went to her room
to play with her dolls
her mother looking sad, staying silent
more than a moment of silence

and the bells ring
waterfalls collect tears

Will an umbrella work

hats, scarves, pearls, feathers
war is declared on a pearl

The Goddess Of Hurricane Irene

The Goddess of Hurricane Irene

Girl, I put a note in a bottle
for Hurricane Irene to carry away:
don’t know where you’ve gone again

Country girl, I know
you always liked to
climb into the sky on your slinky tree
when you were like a cougar on the prowl,
could move me purrr-fectly well

but if only you hadn’t
always moved away
though playfully
you seemed to know you moved me

but I could never track you up a tree, and
only thought that cougars could fly

Maybe if I’d wrapped you in corn silk
and known the kernel of your heart
you’d have thought me more than husk, but

I’ve put a note in a bottle
for Hurricane Irene.

Bechance, once, I saw you do
a whirl-wind dance on the bridge
your hair like glancing rays, you
crossing with the sun and with your smile
and I thought you’d stay in the city
be giddy with me in the wild dance
in the curl up

Surf’s swirling on the beach so I
put a love note in a bottle.

Oh folksy girl, for you I’ve cared; don’t know why
you’d ever say I’d be a tiger suitor
whose roar would make you
more nervous than
“a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”

You’ve covered over the bridge of our relationship
and moved to Vermont where storms never reach
said we’re washed up, but

For impossible things I’ve
put a note in a bottle, started to
“nail jelly to the wall”
way back on the boarded up farm
and I’m looking for a tornado, because

Take note:
you’d always said you’d love me
when pigs fly, and
hurricanes reach Vermont

—Douglas Gilbert