By Jason Youngclaus
“Ancient exiles, tell me about your seas
Blue sister Venus, stir the glittering wave.”
It was the weekend I passed my first kidney stone,
and given the context,
the bite of late July sand under bare feet was
easily distracted amid the balancing cool
Of borderless breeze billowing through,
rendering my protracted gaze inward.
My sore neck slouched sideways
As I drifted off on a distant thought cloud
confused and captivated by lines
from a thick Rimbaud volume that
I’d bought for beach reading
somewhere along the eastern trek across Route 6.
But by now the brilliant, pubescent bard’s anthology had
drizzled off my lap, having left
virtually no impression at all
upon the fearless grains of sand which guard the Atlantic.
And so now I thought
with that season in hell behind me,
I’ll walk straight out
up to my neck in the cold,
refreshing water of Marconi Beach —
and think about how small we are
In the face of it all.
All too gradually the body warmed
as I watched a child run excitedly
smiling as he ran from the goliath waves back to shore
clueless as starlight beaming back to its source
(I consider myself no less ignorant, for the record.)
As the ‘ol bones continued warming
I shook the ocean’s expansive hand
and spun around in a three sixty as the waves surged
making my chest feel empty with flight
that moment of weightlessness
a feeling with seemingly
more utility for the soul than most.
Soon enough the fire of imagination
opened a vista through which
transcendence melts all conscious thought:
Like two comets colliding in another galaxy.
Still, the trail of fire that weaved my thoughts
together was a kind of confused sadness
mixed with misplaced wonder:
The bewilderment of a fish out of water,
Man out of land.
I thought—what if the whole known multiverse,
Andromeda and all,
is in truth contained within a single atom?
This felt comforting and now—
for the first time
I could see it all from above:
me in that emergency room on Broadway
where Brooklyn and Queens bleed together
not far from Greenwood cemetery
(which I’d walked through on occasion)
Screaming at nurses, myself, patients, the gods
drowning in that pain eleven level fever
shivering at the immensity of it.
But that too would pass—
Much like this thought, to the
bottom of my subconscious
immobile on that fertile seafloor.
But we’re all still here and the sentences for writers
rise in waves of creativity.
Inevitably there are quiet moments
but those spaces, like the gaps in a Jazz solo
are where it’s really at.
And when you’ve been strapped to a hospital bed
with an IV drip in your arm
and morphine in your veins
a simple moment of peace and quiet
is bliss in motion;
It rings through the late summer air
And the whole wild ocean trembles in its presence.
[Read Full Issue]