POEMS


Offshore Winds

     I opened my front door.   A coyote pulled his head from our trash can and turned to look at me.  He laughed.  Then dipped back into the rubbish.  Even vermin seldom take me seriously. 

     Death is sleeping and five days remain before the month is over.  I’ve met my obligations early.  For a breath I am free from my futile bondage of financial responsibilities.  In celebration, I’m taking the morning off to play in the surf.  Even though it’s Friday.

     I’ve had my tea, read my prayers, written my thoughts.  I’m ready to enter the pre-dawn day.  0-dark thirty is a time reserved for men who need to get away, emotional men, men who wear the world like a backless strait jacket.  

     I step from our brick porch admiring the moon’s sideways smiley face hanging midway in the western sky.  The coyote saunters down towards the corner.  Santa Ana winds are howling.  The West Valley morning stillness is interrupted by trees being slapped around by Mother Nature and the clatter of a metal trash can lid blowing about on our deserted street.   

    Yesterday afternoon I checked the surf report and forecast.  It was promising.  Prominent west-northwest-short-term swell.  Three to four foot faces with occasional five foot sets at northerly exposed beaches.  Offshores winds 15-35 knots.  Water temperature 56-58.  Air temperature 62.  Sunrise 6:54.  Best early in the morning on the rising tide.

     So much thought and energy is required to get out the front door for a damn dawn patrol session these days.  Half the time I talk myself out of driving to the beach before I crawl from my bed to the bathroom. 

     The ideas that bombard me are: it’s going to be two crowded, I didn’t get gas last night, the damn wetsuit is buried under the laundry, Kelly’s car is parked behind mine, what if the dogs wake, what if it’s too windy, what if it’s too cold, what if there’s not enough surf, what if the waves are too big, I have to go to work  afterwards and will be useless by noon, my allergies are acting up, I’m constipated, my back hurts, traffics going to be hell coming back to the Valley, and the list goes on. 

     I enter the garage.  What a mess.  Boxes of my kid’s crap are everywhere.  I just cleaned it a month ago.  It becomes disorganized quicker since my children have moved out.  They keep bringing stuff back they haven’t room to store.  We’re one of those families that will never actually use a garage for a motor vehicle.  The garage is tomb for seasonal items rarely used and for dead things that seem to still have value, a family tradition at least three generations old.

     I’m in the car.  The heat is on and the streets are empty.  I haven’t seen anyone on Mulholland and PCH is unconscious.  The wind is blowing like a bear but the report was right, She’s offshore. 

     Regardless of what happens in the water, how many waves I catch or miss, I’m at the beach and there are only three guys out.  The waves have good shape, and the sun is peeking over Palos Verde Point.  Heavens is on fire.  Death remains subdued.  The coyote is well fed and my soul knows no age.