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Day To Play Hooky: a poem

October 7, 2008

This is the day to play hooky:
clear Indian summer sky
clear to the Islands’ canyons and coves
clear for the dad longboarders waiting for waves.

Moms march by–2×2, 3×3
stroller by stroller, babe by babe.
A dad in straw hat does business by phone, his
quiet daughter watches wheels roll.

Stench of stale cheap beer and cigarettes flows
from a van housing a happy drunken couple.
The bar opens at 10am when it’s BYOB.
The self employed employ themselves surfside.

A woman in a muumuu and her dog wade the river
recline by its side watch
avocets gulls cranes herons
small birds dip curved bills, bathe.

An altar lies on the round iron
sewer grate, its surrounding pavement
long removed by surf and sea.
Small objects: shells stones driftwood: rest there.

You yourself played in the Pacific this sunny morning.
I saw you after you got out of the water
towel wrapped round your waist,  you read a fat book.
Your surfboard rests on your oldschool vw bus, a red westy.

I am tempted to talk to you
(to seduce you)
but continue my ride to the river to sit,
eat my apple, write about you.

You are still there when I bike back.
I waver–your coffee pot calls me
your belongings (your open bed) tempt me,
your shiny cherry bus.

You sit now on the bumper out front in the sun
all long baggy shorts and no shirt
all sandy and brown curls tasting of salt
still reading your book.

I look back, me in my sunglasses, you in yours.
It has been a long time
since I slept with surfer sand and salt.
As much as I want to, I don’t go back.

As much as I want a smile, I don’t give much of one
to you, only a small one I feel inside of me.
I don’t turn round.
I steer my bike straight ahead.

I know where that story goes
and I can’t go there today.
I have work to do. Two boys
who love me. No hooky for me.

(Shishilop Project 10/7/08: Surfers Point Loop)

c. by Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator

(The next day I made a video of this poem. To see it, go here).

This poem is part of Read Write Poem.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2008 11:19 pm

    Cool narrative poetry is all in the timeline, following and controlling it and you have perfect pacing and close control over the tone. It sounds good to, you should do a video for this one, it really conjures the scene and the tension between the desire for liberty passion sun and surf and responsibility which is reflected in the rhythm and the language as well. Great narrative poem.

  2. Jason permalink
    October 8, 2008 1:33 am

    Spoken like a true hooker!

    I try to take at least a moment of every day for a little hooky.

  3. October 9, 2008 9:53 pm

    The end comes just great “no hooky for me”…like it.

  4. October 10, 2008 6:52 am

    A story. I liked all the images…


    evil is objectively effortless

  5. October 13, 2008 1:42 am

    Thanks! I like doing narrative poetry and reading it too but it is tricky to keep the pacing tight–can’t play hooky there…

    Never know where or when a poem’s going to show up!

  6. david permalink
    October 14, 2008 6:16 am

    loved it

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