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  • write4hire

Eight Years Later










A Second Ride on Patti Smith’s M Train

 

It’s 2016, a dogeared copy of Patti Smith’s M Train

in your backpack as you travel through Costa Rica,

Esterillos Este … Manuel Antonio ... Playa Dominical …

reading without comprehension about Wegener’s theory

of the continental drift, when you drift off into a tidal pool

of clarity where this notion rolls in over the rocks:

 

Shakespeare was a bully; Virginia Woolf a spoiled brat;

Allen Ginsberg wet his pants; Joan of Arc was a tattle tale;

Mother Theresa a mean girl; Moses, Abraham, John, Paul,

Peter, Sophocles, Nietzsche, Marie Curie, Sojourner Truth,

Crazy Horse, Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jonas Salk,

Lou Gehrig, Maya Angelou, disappointed their parents

 

every day. The list goes on. Feral children grow into

uncivilized adults, the continents just keep drifting

in ways you still don’t understand, and eight years later,

after something unthinkably sad changes your life,

a disembodied conductor from your past bumps

your shoulder, grouses out the side of his mouth

 

“Change at Myrtle and Wykoff,” and minutes or eons

later you’re standing on a grimy platform in Brooklyn,

Big Mac wrapper blowing onto the tracks as the L Train

pulls in, sallow faces behind sooty windows, where you

see, at last, how the drift never stops, how everything strays

unerringly this way and that, and when the doors slide open

 

at Canarsie some force of nature leads you by the elbow

down Rockaway Parkway until you reach the ocean,

take off your shoes and socks, roll up your pants,

race across the warm sand until you’re ankle

deep in the surf, staring out

at the perfect arc

 

of sea and sky where you become a child again, bending

your knees, raising your skinny arms, leaping

up over a tumbling wave.

And then do it again.

And again. And

again

 

            —SL, New Paltz, NY, 2016

               Remastered, Port Royal, SC, April 2024



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10 Comments


marilyn.bardo
Apr 12

There is nothing comparable to the feeling of the sand under your feet, the sun warming your body, and the ocean washing over you.

Also my happy place!

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write4hire
Apr 14
Replying to

Yes!

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myadams1229
myadams1229
Mar 26

Well set drift lines!

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write4hire
Mar 27
Replying to

I drift, therefore I am.

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Larry Winters
Larry Winters
Mar 26

Nothing means nothing or in its original “It don’t mean nothing,” which simply at the metaphorical level it means everthing.

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write4hire
Mar 27
Replying to

Exactly!

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skiwaves
Mar 26

Despite life's drift, I always seem to end up in my happy place, by the sea.

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write4hire
Mar 27
Replying to

Me too.

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margarita meyendorff
margarita meyendorff
Mar 26

I also love the introduction to the poem...

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write4hire
Mar 27
Replying to

And I love that you love it. 🙏

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