Cayo Hueso the Poem

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I know you're tired of seeing the words and probably don't much care what they are about. However, this is the first try after about thirty drafts of making sense of the title poem.

Cayo Hueso

white, shards not sand
that stick up seaside
a primordial picket fence
or cage, clearly
visible even from the uneven
burnt blue ocean.

I cannot know how I am loved, I
do not know how I love. The word
means as much as "cloud" and has
all the substance--cotton puff
pushing across blue springtime's face.

"Call me an ambulance."The wind
rushing over the grey water's wash
drowns sound so I must say,
"Excuse me."
____________"I don't feel so good,"
and indeed on this very coldest
of days, the coldest seen here
in forty years, his face is as
grey as the sky and sea.
And so I call.
____________It's a small
island, a speck in the sea
and in no time measured from a
city-dweller's point of view,
the flashing lights pull up the narrow
way. "What's up, old man?" the beard speaks
almost before the ambulance has stopped.

And I remember it started life
as Cayo Hueso, and bones,
even if shrouded in a little flesh
still stud the shores on windy days.

I wanted to go winter sailing
even though the sea upset
me. But I didn't
even get to see the sea I had
come to love.

But consolation is a restaurant
on the marina that serves
steaming bowls of tomatoey
conch chowder. And so I rest
content in grey.

The bones are still here,
they hire small children
to walk the beaches before
dawn and collect them
in baskets, so the tourists
will not be upset and call
for help.
________Sometimes they fail.

Named then for the strand washed
reminders of our interiority--
what is not seen lies below
and upholds what is.
For this there is no help
on cold grey days. Or,
it is indeed its own help.

It's rough, I admit--an still isn't quite there. It is, perhaps, at times too blunt and too much. And yet, it hints at what I'm trying to get at. It serves well as a draft to move forward with, perhaps adding parts, certainly reworking some lines and sections. It is, in sum, a very interior poem that really resisted ever becoming exterior.

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Lush and evocative...

Dear TSO,

Thank you so much for that. It allows me to read it in a new light.





About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 14, 2008 7:59 AM.

Poem in a confessional vein was the previous entry in this blog.

More (Not Less) of Cayo Hueso is the next entry in this blog.

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