Poetry: House on the Beach | clivejames.com
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House on the Beach

The shadows mediated by the slats of the venetian blind
stripe the silk finish ceiling;
I am reminded of the sheen on the ocean
of glossy horoscopes I so deprecate,
am I not, after all, a logical and serious-minded Virgo?
Apparently, Venus is poorly aspected in Pisces
or something. I am practically nodding off at this point.

I expire across the bed with its sails full of disquietude,
its balsa-wood hull dipping and rising
on queasy unconsciousness like some Kon-Tiki
out to prove to me, as if I needed it,
that I am not new,
that I cannot get away from it all,
that it is all there is, and that my slumberings
retain the tell-tale signs of you
with your female body
and mouth full of explanations.
I fetch up onto this morning,
so strangely bright with exotic birds and fruit
but still with its hoard of old stone heads.

But just how did it get here, this place -
in the margins of buying and selling
or from somewhere in the veneered wardrobe
between sharp suits or materials
pre-weathered in the cutting room?
My new denim jacket had sand in its pockets,
that's how they distress them, you told me,
perhaps that's what the sand has done to me.
I am in distress, I had said, in body language
by rubbing the back of my neck, I am sand-blasted!

Or did it float up amongst all the debris?
It could have bobbed in on the cusp of beach and sea,
replete with the tactfully blanched flooring
and these hard little shells
that virtually stab your feet to death,
but that would be so hackneyed,
surely a place like this would be more original.
And another thing, who was it that said
don't build your house on sand?
Some old deity I think.
But rocks erode away into sand
and, like Thales said,

isn't everything just water anyway?
And he should know, having fallen down a well
trying to read the future in the stars.
And when everything is liquefied and clean,
wouldn't he be pleased, the old prognosticator,
if he himself hadn't already melted?

I strain to hear your breathing in almost the wash
of the water's edge and the lisping of the shingles
as they deliquesce into the sea;
I am asphyxiated with desire
to stroke the fine hairs of your body
and, as the sea runs over driftwood on the beach,
follow the subtle undulations of you.
I am filled up like an inflated tear
whose surface tension is so taut
that one more image of you with your poise -
your bare arms, your hands lightly crossed in front of you -
and I will break and shower into droplets like the waves
as they smash into the old wooden tide-breakers
and annihilate themselves in the air.