Seaweed

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
—- Douglas Gilbert
(Henry Le Châtelier)

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert