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Michele Somerville Headshot

Across From Bloody Mary's Bar and Grill

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The final sun of the year
is broken upon the water,
an accident
no longer waiting

to happen, a bulb con-
solidated no longer, a shattered
whole comprised of the sum
of its several solar parts,

a reconstituted version of
its bright and erstwhile self --
"Want me to take some kielbasa
out of the freezer?" asks a woman

on the phone as she walks
by the boardwalk bench
where a writer engaged in pen-
manship, longhand, cursive, long-

hand in the spiral
notebook, documents
warmth and wonders
how with so little

imagination the soul
withers and fails
to thrive. This is how the sausage
gets made. The new year

barrels forth -- Dunes in snow,
nut-brown tufts of sea-scruff
feather in breeze. Below,
kept silent, is who knows how much

teeming life. I know how. I used
to imagine such reticence
dignified. I close the book.
Montreal Inn, Atlas Motor Lodge --

Entropy Lounge, Kiwanis Club --
The problem is the question not
the answer; the question is not
"How would it look?" but

"How can it be?"
At the Grand Hotel, for a price,
they shrouded the pool
windows over-

looking the ocean
in blue tarp in order
that the veiled women
might float if not free

then at least undetected.
Entropy Lounge, Kiwanis Club, Cape
May West Inn -- If you'd
come up and see me some time

you would know, by now,
who I am. The Maryknoll Steeler
fan noted on the Sabbath
that Joseph saved his woman

from death by stoning.
Grand Hotel, Fibonacci Motel,
Kiwanis Club, Cap May West Inn --
As the year ends, it occurs

to me it is
what we don't know
that most hurts us.
But another year

is in the wings. There
is a way of seeing
unencumbered by looking.
It is probably wrong

to build tall, cheap and without regard
for aesthetics on the beach.
Grand Hotel, Fibonacci Motel,
Kiwanis Club, Entropy Motor Lodge --

There is a way of seeing the world --
There is a way of seeing the world
that goes
beyond how it looks --

not how world looks
but how it is and might be.
A vision not of outcomes --
The question is its own

answer. It is question
and answer both.
The talk was smooth sailing
until the storm kicked up again.

I was in deep and slow on the uptake.
Three hours in, I came to know
the fight was for tender
not love.

The sun is a perfect semblance
broken on broken water.
The color of snow on the beach
is the color or snow on the beach.

I hear petrol's roar swell, roll, mount, vanish and
recur behind me. I guess it is wrong
to develop fast roads along the beach.
I should have known

I was negotiating. When the sun
disappeared, last night,
it went down
in a raving quick. The horizon

swallowed its red ember smooth
in a lone gulp. Children belong
to themselves and the world.
There is something to

numerology, Lao-Tze, the Buddha
the Zohar, Jesus.
It's not just me.
There's something to

their untranslatable song
in the shell. Three is sacred
if only you let it be.
Perilous action grows up

out of the perilous failures
of imagination engenders.
There were signs
but only the redheads heeded them.

Cassandra sung in her "head voice,"
her nose full of blood:
"Form follows function."
All can air their rubbish.

It's a free system.
You can be who you are.
If you were
who you are

We'd be somewhere
now. Making change
in the temple
is like building

on the water
without regard --
We deserve to be bounced
if we spit on the platform

Making change
makes peace --
Transfer at stations
and become not

someone else
but who you are
and therefore can
be, whereby the breadth of

love
is not lost
on you
which can not be

enacted into law or made
any more than water or light are
into policy. Harmony supplants
discord when a way of seeing

pulls the world out
of the fire --
a way of looking
not to

but at
the world and oneself --
a way not of seeming
but of seeing and

being. The question
is not how
it would look
but what it would see --

not how it would look? but
what it could be?
This is the question
that answers itself. Wrong,

I suppose it is wrong to erect
fast roads along the beach
because the sea is everyone's
cathedral. No one wins

the bingo game at the church
except God and the losers,
So butter me not up.
Let reliable rhythms

of water and light entrance, embrace,
murder, retain and persuade.
Grand Hotel, Fibonacci Motel, Kiwanis Club,
Entropy Lodge, Cap May West Inn,

Bloody Mary --
When it comes to, the great star
high noon is hot-
white whose finish is pure

escalating
red. There is no negotiating --
just rising
to the occasion.

The horizon swallows
the sun whole which
flares, cools and dips --
and belches crepuscular

It is just
how heat and light
work over the beach
and the absence of each.