On Sand and Steps (Draft 3) [I added a bunch of new stuff at the end. don’t know if i can fix it all together for Draft 22…]

On Sand and Steps (Draft 3)

None could wash away
Sandy sorrow and surges
when too many steps
needed to be taken urgently.

My thigh hurts from a pull
because I am unreal, ungraceful
in keeping blind rhythm masterfully
unreal for walking in the dark, and
I fell at the bottom of the stairs
flying like a fledgling on nested steps
catching my foot on an invisible edge

She said to
turn off my flashlight
because the looters she knew
would know she left her apartment

She needed to charge her phone
to talk to her real friends
in the real world

Seems that I, being unreal,
can’t see in the dark,
missed a step,
fell, and
we went to
charge her cell phone
near the security booth
where they hide guards
and do nothing, a light light
house like Potemkin’s façade

There’s a generator at the booth
where she can charge her cell phone
talk to her real friends
in the real world

Unreal in the dark
without heat
without hot water
wet faces are not washed
dirty, filthy tides cry, but

the ocean is more beautiful
and magnificent than the mud
of the tidal marauders, and
the seagulls sang more sweetly
than the people on the street
as I wandered through debris
on the beach with flashlight on
watching a Dredge pipe spray
new sand for replenishment
new food for seagulls, and
food for thought that
wiggles like worms and clam bits

A few skillful birds caught
long pieces of food
and had five
other birds attack it

A few snatched little pieces
that they ate surreptitiously

Some just enough
for air-to-air to beak combat

Many got none and
one stood away from
the main torrent of muddy water
not seeming to care
wading without waiting

I mumbled you’ll never
get anything that way

It barked at me

Why did you bark?
I blurted

If I chirped
would you pay attention?

It knew a good sand bar
so it flew and landed
flew and landed
so I could follow it

I walked across some rocks
onto a sand bar
and an unopened bottle of whiskey
floated onto the bar

I poured some
into the cap
for it to drink
and I drank from the bottle

It seemed more articulate
than a talking parrot
so I let it rest on my shoulder
and I took it home

I was cold so
I lit the oven
and put up some
water to boil

It asked me to open
cans of clams and sardines
which I gladly did
seeing as I needed an
ending to the joke:
a man walks into a bar
with a barking seagull, a chirping dog
and a priest, and the bartender says…

I thought I had been quite a good host
but then it asked if I could
charge its cell phone…

That’s when I cooked it.
It tasted like chicken in wine
blessed by a priest and a bartender.

— Douglas Gilbert


4 thoughts on “On Sand and Steps (Draft 3) [I added a bunch of new stuff at the end. don’t know if i can fix it all together for Draft 22…]

  1. Draft 22?!? (that’s a whole lot of editing! hehe)
    I like the new addition although i have to admit i felt kinda sorry for the seagull, i suppose it should’ve not been so worried about charging its cell phone, huh? Everyone seems obsessed with those lately, even the barking birds apparently.

    1. Thanks. It’s incredible but both the land lines and the cell phones went out for awhile. But strangely, even with all other power out, the land line phone had power and a dial tone but you just got a weird kind of busy signal for everything… they both came back while the power for the lights was still out, but everyone with a cell phone had a low battery and no where to charge it… I don’t know why the birds got in the habit of using cell phones when they could just fly to the person they wanted to talk to — well I guess flying uses up a lot of energy and you would need to eat a lot to do that. I think I heard someone say that a bird eats five times its own weight(which is small). That’s why it best not to “eat like a bird” unless you’re going to do a lot of flying.

      1. Yeah, whenever our power went out the landlines still worked. I’m not really sure why they don’t need electricity when everything else does. I don’t think i could ever eat five times my own body weight! We have lots of birds flying around here and probably lots of eating going on too. I think all the starlings are back for the winter. I’ve been seeing several large flocks of them lately and i can hear the crazy people down the road shooting air cannons again so i can only assume it’s at the birds. It sounds like a war going on at sunset when the birds are trying to settle down for the night. Earlier this year they estimated 10’s of thousands here. I don’t see what the big deal is about but every one says it’s a health hazard and that people can go blind from bird poop. But we’ve always had lots of birds around, they’ve never hurt anything and we can all still see just fine…

      2. It’s unfortunate but the birds don’t always read the notices we send them — they can be a problem when they don’t follow the instructions we give them. The song birds seem to be an exception and they always seem to be OK. Over here the birds bring down planes and so they use noise, maybe the air cannons you mentioned, to chase them away from the planes at the airport. Nothing seems to work, and every once in a while a plane crashes when the birds get sucked into an engine or crash into the windshield of a plane. Maybe the song birds could open up a college for them and teach them where the safe zones are. I think they’d make good professors singing all the lessons with a happy tune. I’m not sure if they all speak the same language. I guess the owls could translate…

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