I am the guest of a prince. I stay at his palace and share my room with two other talents. The three of us are unique and in demand. We are each 10 stories tall. We do what we do and what no one else does. Our limbs are a hike, folding path over glory. I wake up one morning and look out the window. An ocean has appeared. Its surface, 10 stories above me, the sun just arriving. A reef reaching towards me through clear blue water crystallized by morning's shimmer. A surface broken by shadows, underneath what appear to be cliffs. The ocean bottom, as deep as I am from the surface, 10 stories below. I am 10 stories above. 10 is where we meet. I look down. A horse is swimming into view. Its mane whipped by morning wind-water. The horse is alone for an instant. Free for a few kicks. Then a rider appears on its back. Instantly not free. The rider is a tourist on an underwater swimming tour, where the horse does all the swimming. I turn my head and see more enter the frame. 10 more. 10 signifying more than height, horse or story. Against the blue-green water, the ocean bottom is visible. Horse and rider float. 10 stories above me. In slow-motion, sounds like. But that's because storyteller remains in the story. They swim away. The water clears as if almost to disappear. My eyes adjust and see 10 surfer punks relaxing at the bottom of the ocean. They wear cut-off jeans and shorts. Some have t-shirts some don't. They are relaxing in chaise lounges on the bottom of the floor, getting sun tans through the crystal clear water. Every few seconds, one of them swims up to the surface for a gulp of air and swims back down. The scene is a constant yo-yoing of bodies going up and down. Swimming with hands to sides, long hair flowing behind, air bubbles tracing their destination. Up and down. Up and down. A hypnosis of breath and water. A reward at bottom and at top. A kind of water that lets this happen. A kind of animal doing what nothing else can.
The Intermission Clown
The man, the woman, the dog, the ball.
The black man, the white woman, the black dog, the red ball.
Not once did I mention
the relationship between the man and the dog.
Never the lover, the ball. Nor the woman kiss
the man before the ball returned by dog.
Nor did I bother with waves, or ocean
or beach. The sun hitting the hair of the woman.
As the man came close to her cheek. The dog
caught in the sun, by the ball’s
returning gaze. Never do we learn
how intimate the man has been
with the woman or the dog. How long
have they been in each other’s lives, arms. What is the ball’s
relationship to the dog, to the color. New or favorite.
The same could be said as red.
And not once have I mentioned if the dog belongs
to the woman or the man or the black or the beach.
And the woman, trying to escape the man’s
grasp. And this, a prelude to a breakup
in a matter of minutes. The ball in the red mouth
a transition in orbit. The shoreline baked
in golden sandstorms. Blue waves
on a fading shift of ardent erosion.
Nor do we smell the way they both
ignore the dog. Joyously retrieving the ball
from the ocean. And what about
the manner in which this viewer came upon them.
How I used walk to cross
that part of the telling. That obvious alert
into when we enter, and when we go.
The porous weight that follows echo.
Trailing talk behind each tiny summit of rock,
strewn with reminders of what belongs together.
Catching the size of sirens before they drift apart.
The travel to never-be in the giant size of things.
Never did I mention, how they all tried to become
the other. The man, the woman, the woman, the man.
The dog, the ball, the ball, the dog. The secret
of each other’s knowing. The red, the black, the white, the gold,
unearthed in my viewing. Nor did I allow my witness
a true flight. A risen consequence from the pit
of what I brought with me. My history attached to theirs,
in alignment with my telling.
And when did I leave out how I left. Where,
in this story, is the time or position of the shoreline’s
pass. Every change affecting its greeting.
Each wave, another frame, another stone.
And in what I’ve just told you
did I ever mention thought
or gift or carnival. The horizon’s volume
relived as a tremor, doing its vertical remember in you.
Its impulse for legs, to stand apart
from perspective and light.
in the telling of things.