V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




This is where painted dolphins and sea turtles
swim up the motel wall, lounge chairs rim
the swimming pool, and refugees from the North
provide a septuagenarian version of Bay Watch
as the sun separates each epidermis
into white meat and dark meat portions.

Beyond blooming hibiscus, palm trees meander
lazily toward the sky where cumulus accumulates.
Gulf waters soothe the eyes, dilute tensions,
leave seaweed tidemarks on the beach.
According to St. Matthew, Floridians are foolish,
but they have built well on the ubiquitous sand.

Some retirees who are taking a vacation
shuffle toward the shuffleboard court as others
shuffle cards on tables shaded by beach umbrellas.
Past buildings in pastels from citrus to mango
to melon, geezers stroll the beach with seagulls,
pick up shells, look up at parasailers.

Snowbirds flock for earlybird specials
to Crabby Bill's, Philly Phil's Grill,
The British Pub, or Leverock's, where
"If it's fresher than ours, it's still swimming!"
Catering to the pace of senior citizens,
local eateries do not advertise "fast food."

Choices, choices!  Miniature or regular golfing?
Deep sea fishing or dolphin viewing?  Spring
training or greyhound racing?  Dinner cruise
or casino cruise?  Virtual reality hurricane
or concert?  Surrealism at the Salvador Dali
Museum or real chill at the Holocaust Museum?

At the Internet Outpost Cafe, winter visitors
read e-mails from their home computers
while snail mail piles up at their home post offices.
After seeing TV snow fall in Erie, Chicago
and Quebec, they stretch out in the sun, chat
with new-found friends, dip into the pool to cool.

The faithful gather at the beachside in the evening,
when it is safe to look the sun in its face,
and in firm expectation of a resurrection,
watch the day die into the waters of the Gulf.

© by Bernhard Hillila


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