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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/12/22

By the Sea

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By the Sea

by John Kendall Hawkins


The heaving heavy heart of the sea weighs

on me this evening, as I look out at the setting sun

that at this moment seems to sink like an eye

of disappointment, as if I'd failed to see

in its dying light the necessary ratio, the sum

of age-old elegances sprayed out across the firmament --

hieroglyphic expostulations of our rootedness in being.


I'm an anthropomorphic man and anthr-apologist at heart,

self-centered by necessity, as if by disease, as if

I were meat and water thrown around a cosmological idea.

Not really here. Like the time I came out of a coma and seemed

to myself, for a moment, to have appeared out of nowhere,

like the blossom opening for the first time in the sun.


Heinrich Heine said it so well so many years before,

standing Am Meer, all the prettiness of the world before him

didn't amount to a hill of beans in a ghost saloon,

where long sad tales took the night to tell with drinks,

and the complexity, the complexity had no end of burgeoning,

the primordial rose at the heart of matter's infinite bouquet.


I'm getting old and that feeling won't go away,

that feeling that I do not belong, like that coma moment

without identity, pre-prelingual, molecules Rubik's cubing around,

until a self, that will do, clicks into place, beau geste.

I'm fading now, I'm essentially free, and won't be needing

that Tibetan Book of the Dead after all to beat back

materialism's hold on me, love's dialectical bondage,

freed of desire, released from the suffering of permanency.


Looking out at the glowering ember at the edge of the sea,

I feel nothing, wave after wave washing over my feet,

nothing seems to be, like an undertow of loneliness

that prefigures a final surrender to infinity.

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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