Marcello on the Beach
A monster has just washed up on the sand—
A manta with its black eyes wide and dead.
The young and beautiful act like it’s grand.
The older man just looks and tilts his head.
They’re making such a big deal out of it,
It makes him wish he planned it in advance.
No matter; they’ll get blasé in a bit,
No matter what the tune, it’s the same dance.
He’s wearing white—he always does these days—
Because, no matter what you do, it will
Get dirty in a hundred different ways,
Then cleaned. For suits are much more versatile
Than souls. His own likes to wear dark sunglasses,
So it can close its eyes to all that passes.
He drifts away, like thoughts in Sunday School.
He needs a shave and sleep. Such sad dark eyes.
He hears his name across the tidal pool.
It’s someone that he cannot recognize.
But we know her. She’s the young girl he met
When he went off to finally write the book
He knew was in him. So did she; and let
Him see that knowledge in her every look.
And now he stares at her and all he sees
Is someone he can’t even visualize
Whose hands make typing moves—whose eyes don’t tease,
But promise something pure, tender and wise.
It makes him wish he could always be near her.
But she's so far away, and he can't hear her.
What is there he can do, but give a shrug
That says “I can’t” as loudly as “I wish”
At what’s long past that he once longed to hug—
At what’s as dead now as that monster fish.
What is there left to do, but shrug, as if
To say “There’s nothing left in me to give,”
And offer up a smile with just a whiff
Of sadness in it? For that’s how we live—
Mixed up like cocktails; chasing after tastes
Our tongues have outgrown; looking back and seeing
Not what Time offers us, but what it wastes,
Till Life is not the finding but the fleeing.
And so we shrug, over the lost and broken,As if to say all that cannot be spoken.
That’s where we all get washed up, on that shore
Where youth cavorts with age—where there’s a tide
That sends up monsters from the ocean’s floor
And driftwood loves that Time has beautified—
A beach where might-have-beens call out our name
And make us choose to hear them, or forget
That what they saw is not what we became—
That our farewell dishonored how we met.
And when our current life calls out to us,
We take its hand as it leads us away
To what’s consoling and innocuous,
Where regrets are stubbed out in Time’s ashtray—
And all the angels who saved us from hellSmile sadly, knowingly, and wave farewell.
Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells