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L BY Colin Scrgent UNDERTON 44A UNDERTOW 4.S by Colin Sargent COYOTE LOVE PRESS Portland Maine t9g4 otgg by Colin Sargent Grateful acknowledgements are extended to the editors of the following periodicals in which some of these poems first appeared Footprints appea courtesy of Netus Coat of Arms courtesy of. The Strain News courtesy of lota and Suit and Tie courtesy oI The McGuffin. Other Coyote Love Press publications are available from the press at 597 Sawyer Street South Portland Maine 04106. For my father TABLE OF CONTENTS Undertous Money Debris The First GIow Galrauitchings Dark Bag The Spindle The Bloodinthe EggYoIk Such a One The Meninthe l-abel Fromthe Bottom Coruette Footprints Aerial Coat of Arms GreenCactus Batters Bot Neuts Almnst Nothing Diego Garcia Like aDeer Suit and.Tie N i ght-Blooming C ereus Two Coffee FaII New England. Freats Strangers Night Annnpolis Preuiews The LanMy Hand Hotel Reine Elizabeth Below the SaIt The Stlent Gardener 3 8 I t1 1.3 t5 r6 r8 19 2l 23 24 25 27 z8 29 3o 3r 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 44 45 46 47 48 49 5o UNDERTOtr UNDERTOW Yes HelenI will call at twilight when its rainy when the peacocks are flying out over the sea. The undertow is the French Revolution the undertow is the Isle of Elba the undertow is a whore sucking on the granulated sugar Napoleons they were selling all over Paris in r8o4. We are emptied of our complexity. We stick out a green tongue point to our watch. Its a nightclub death not the death of a Quaker no whitewashed fl oorboards in the pine-trimmed heaven of your soul. Death being Shaker-simple. A sheep coughs on the green hill. Erect benches with the stars flying overhead like crazy. White and walnut mochaware herbs granite with a riot of shadows on white clapboard the hand the claw of an old lady pullingyoudown. Channel and tide old fishermen drowning a young bride stirring her soup. My crazy uncles loved it jumped in to feel the elevator shaft. Its the I dont care for you. 3 Or Kent toward the end after giving his zoooo prize to North Vietnam reaching down below the Monhegan rocks toward his carpet trying to pluck the woven flowers. One place has a current deep and fast run by a river god while upstairs an ocean god is breaking crosswise drinking blue electricity snapping seals in two. The river god wears a Kennebunkport t-shirt. Unread words in your library crashing over the read. The how dumb we are crashing over the how smart. T e c hni c aI s tuc k t he stimulant khat into their cheeks and grow utings. The Mohawks who do construction on the high buildings find it the other side of the barbed wire minds dancing on the shivery steel edge. A white foot with blue nails kicks up as if to say no. I find myself drivingto where its happened the Saco River with the Grandemann girls Parsons Beach and little Billy Radiscar 4 the jetty laughing into Ogunquit. Theyre beautiful women carrying guns waves I mean waves are beautiful women carrying guns in gorgeous half slips sea lavender and tall grasses swept below sky brushed below ocean sound while you dive dive for the stars. Its always a Helen who finds you someone who calls the Boothbay Harbor Coast Guard Station weathered shingles and a bell in the shingled rain way out on a spit. Dependable in a blue print dress. while outside the oceans had a few beers. rain pissing in an alley or into phone booths the black receiver inert and sexy busting up traps while it boils below sounding stones while the eddies above sound down and make a break for it water falling sideways running from the car to the 7-rt in the rain. be right back 3 e.rvr and too-bright milk containers rnaving animatedly as you go under into loon time it is loon time now. You burst through the surface on Congress Street Iook at warm slices hardening under the heat lamps ask for water even though water has a price. They send a lifeguard after you all muscles and whistles and blue-eyed Australia hes ready to make every reasonable to save you evil creeping out of its seashell to investigate you. The street surfs up under my feet comes down on my head while I hold onto my son with a metal hand. Shes above you now wet dress and all that hair she seems pleased to see your eyes your arms the depth of endless peace. Theres nobody out here. A few Cornell ornithologists religious zealots ruining the Star Island Hotel they tried until they bled but they gave up on you. We didnt know when to start looking for you Leopards. Who could have introduced leopards to the Isles of Shoals. Theyre on Appledore two cats Cotton and Increase. springing out over the brown seaweed Damn them bright bayberry bushes the cats favored now by fishermen the mainland facing the other way nothing staring at you the way nothing does at the Isles of Shoals through the boarded-up windows Eyesbig as fever tomatoes the devil at your elbow. MONEY for Charles Simic There was a cod in the fish store following me the way eyes of great paintings follow you through museums. They wrapped himup for me. I got lost on the way home whispering through the paper to my loaded cod. Strangers I passed were convinced he was a loaf of bread. Wherearewe He talked quite naturally given his condition. Where are we You were saying just now. The dark souls of aII the fish Ive eaten are European black as wallets. Their street goes on forever shiny with oil. DE BRI S I knew she was sick but how sick If youre T4youre already gorgeously sick its hard for your 2o-year-old grandson to know really to pick up deaths black telephone warn the relatives see the obvious steaming into this week like an aircraft carrier launching into 3o knots of wind A-7 Corsairs easing down onto the coffee table Bondaddy got Mimi when he was stationed in Panama dark oriental Myrna Loy stuff blackened with furniture polish and stories and the bourbon of admirals when they visited r3B Charles Street grand admirals from every ocean and evely navy even the German navy an elegant old ex-World-War-I U-boat captain whom I was allowed to call Admiral Weisner Fred Weisner a go-year-old noble with black eyes who clicked his heels upon meeting you in that room with a mean streak as black as the thin little line you pull out of a shrimp so the things just completely pink and so of course the grandson was going to be a midshipman when he grew up how do you do a bourbon alumni dream of a grandson burning his eyes out over the books and studying literature up in Mahan Hall up to his armpit in Hemingway and the greats in the conference room where the best students gathered all sitting at a huge heirloom of a table given to Commodore Perry by the Emperor of Japan when he broke the curtain of silence in r 853 and established trade relations ha the Japanese thought Americans were giants eight-foot devils absolute white giants because the Japanese table rose up to my Adams apple 8 black-shrimped midshipmen sitting at the Table of Giants visiting Mimi occasionally sure when there was enough liberty to 9 tip over and spill ice sliding behind a quick smile but its hell being zo and when it was too late when the cold that wasnt a cold got told in the hold the admisssion being that in the last two weeks Mimi had cheerfully eaten only a few champagne crackers thats it she showed me the box wello theyre all together now the people who knew World War I and II I mean yeah we have the furniture but not the grandness to go down with double salvos just 3 champagne crackers in two weeks a thousand parties invisibly surrounding her china her dressing screen smoky photos of Bondaddy as captain of the Deltathe R-r 7 blueprints of submarines they dont make anymore the elegant tread of ghosts answering the phone-wait a second honey are you still reading Nobody could be reading this. And the phosphorus that trailed in the wake of the destroyers the greatlooming parties of Mimis that circled around the island and exploded at z enr gasoline spilling around the swimming sailors in the black lonely and formal water stories with a big finish and no one to hear them Pieces of phosphorus Mimi I Iove you Pieces of phosphorus They were aquamarine. THE FIRST GLOW You said storms were like department stores out here insideyou said the lining ot euening. I in turn considered your black slip. Tftis you said Of a stranded can buoy is f rom the storm ol 1978. And so we exchanged body fluids in the unlocked island tower. Celebrants of a sensitive ochlocracy. There was shore everywhere shore in the wallet of things shore inside the stones that night When you rvhispered to me that the gulls were growling just to keep you awake making human sounds. We went out looking for them and things got so black We couldnt see our feet but instead saw the ScotiaPrince sliding across the black space the way an ocean liner in a fountain pen slides at night from Portland To Nova Scotia Portland the first glow and then Brunswick Naval Air Station then airplanes heading due east to Europe. the flight attendant telling them The movie for tonight is. We groped our way torvard Devils Backbone in a quiet giant as New York City showy over the guano showy and absolute The inhospitable black spruces behind us falling off to water dark as duck sauce. and then we had the fight about the IRSlike Lowell and Stafford out here For Gods sake all that Catholicism in the twinkling Iights gutting Harpswell across the water and you saying how stupid I was to call the main number for the IRS The number with 1o4o as its last four digits its like being washed up on the ocean you said Hellois this the ocean2 Am I speaking to the ocean now7 The next morning everybody is apologizing throwing muffins at the problem deciding after getting water from the islands black well Walking through new roses that well go fishing in the aluminum boat with the electronic fish finder the one that tracks fish like little Exocet missiles Swimming happily across the screen bit-mapped and absolutely regular like no fish is regular and all of a sudden the machine starts Putting tails and fins on euerything Iumps of seaweed our wake disturbances on the ocean floor changes of speed shore everywhere back on the island Where people are either poachers or personally acquainted with Norman Mailer shore on that black rock over there where theres guano so valuable They sent ships up here to pick it up snow lighting the stuff on the inside somehow sexy and lost shore at the heart of things the hidden curbs Of the still island still shore shore inside you the way everythings always on its way to you black spruces naked where the fire was. GALRAVITCHINGS Some incomprehensible intelligence must haue been ezercised from the beginning. -JonN Ger-r t77g-t839 You called them clishmaclavers your novels full of genius and spiced pies five feet wide the ingredients alive and moving with lamb old vicars chutneyed into character carrots and peas uncomfortable pies really your missives written deeply into the night burping with variousness misspellings Canadian luna moths you mistook for green imps happy phrase but to go all that way Leaping across the darkness with harps to the bewilderment of wolves waught of ocean that great swig yes into bush society it was an English harp you brought to the sovereign wilderness in r826 into upper Canada a perspicacity of tinkling china so necessary beside your telescope your bit and drap thats the miracle you cutting a sleigh track through the woods a single sleigh track 4oo miles to see the inland ocean of Huron burst upon your sight for the first time The woods flamed your brain with their millioning. Fueled by hyperbole you came as uncos as a stranger you dreamed up after writing him down a storied traveler not really here in the imperial woods with your Warden of the Forests Tigers title another of your fasheries but rather in a Greenock library where out 13 Of the tail of your eye you caught sight of something starting to move the piano in all likelihoodlifting stiff legs and trotting out of view with you in hot pursuit you Who dazzled the heritors but concerned them believing your loves divided without knowing Canada was what you serialized birky new towns clacking with surveyors and politics instead of chapters and glorious epistles to the Board in London who sent a secretary to spy on you Tholing the dule in the rough world while they withdrew into drawing rooms trig reserved the retinue of investors fidgeting with intellectual ticks latches ledgers slapping shut. Their hardwoods scared them hallucinatory furniture glowed in the night flaming birch and tiger maple cut to rectangles placed to face drawers the wood contained in ways they never would contain you. 14 DARK BAG There was a kitchentable and an interrogation light miles below. The potatoes wouldnt talk. My mother cut Herself red years once. I ran for gauee blaming potato not knife. Woke up at the wheel of remembering that knife. How did we gethe.reIsay driving through the Night of Lost Objects. Isnt it dark Hous didue ever get dawrthare To bloom in black like dreams or bad ideas. Potatoes that go azy. Roots flying everywhere inthe dark bag. t5 THE SPINDLE Its out there stinging and sparkling in the night of the blue wasp. A man and a woman have pulled over in the rain to watch it the rusty pole getting nailed by all the lightning. They turn their map light on. They begin talking to one another. The man knows all about the spindle. Knows where the lightning goes once it hits it. Why they putthe spindle there in the first place and when. What color it was by day before it rusted up. Its 7z feet tall he tells her. When it rains like this its the only thing out there to hit. Its easy enough to see her shape in the car. Shes the smaller one the one listenin the one whos new to the beach and stories of the beach. But this is the simplest of the stories. This is the story of the spindle. Its called One Mile Rock he tells her. Its a navigational aid by day a lightning rod by night. The lightning is an old friend nailing its melted steel conical inverted top with soothing regularity the way r oo-year-old Georgians make love the old Georgians they discovered in Russia except they have nothing as simple as this to look on a million feet of ocean and one spindle. She looks 3 miles across the car and tells him she wants to leave. She saw a restaurant on Route r with canopies and lights and people. No ones here on this beach. The spindle makes them too alone the water glugging up at stones thrown down. They argue a bit. He turns on the radio and tries the wiper. He tries his blinkers and pushes in his cigarette lighter. Hes never tried it before. He doesnt smoke but it came with the car. And just now he wants to see its rings turn red. orange and finally white. Finally he starts the engine turns the interior light out and pulls the car steaming into the rain. Another car drives by oblivious to the spindle. And then the first car comes back with the man inside alone. He reaches down and adjusts the seat back. He feels hes only now discovering his car. When he was a boy he swam out to the spindle once with his sister rowing a boat just ahead. He thinks of long swimmers Diana Nyad vs. the English Channel the motor oil they rub on each other before slipping into the dark like seals. His car door opens. He has his hands in his pockets walks like this over the wall and onto the rocks. Theyre slippery inaccessible Kant. The water is furious red-eyed calling its attorney. A giant wave sweeps 3o feet and washes the spindle halfway up plunging r Mile Rock in darkness. Then a big thundercloud swaggers up sniffing around. The ozone is ridiculous. obvious Dorothy Sayers with her clothes of. Listen carefully. Observe the spindle. Its gorgeous lessonless. It rises majestically into the smoky heavens the ocean heaving below. It is a blue wasp stinging and sparkling and gasping for sex. Do you have a momcnt Come here. Id like to tell you somcthing. and I saw you sailing over there alone. THE BLOOD IN THE EGG YOLK THE LAST STRANGERS SMILE I amwith a woman who fears winningthe Bermuda trip in the society raffle Because of the universal black compensation that will certainly go with it With Paris comes cancer Madrid a horrible auto accident fortune and tragedy Thumping up the ramp together into natures terrible ark. t8 SUCH A ONE After his wife went to sleep at night he heard the voices on the beach. He was alone reading beneath a circle of old light old because the book he was reading was old a book hed saved for himself since he was a Iittle boy. It had a woven blue cover and thick nearly orange pages. And he was descending slowly into it Iowering himself into the musty magic of the narrative the writers eyes twinkling and oddly huppy that hed forgotten it all these years and had the chance to discover it again even now too late to break the ferie ring and cross the street zo years earlier when the womans laugh was a girls laugh and the girl was his wife. I was dreaming youd find this book shed say and laughing the way people laughed a longtime ago shed run into the sea. The next day he tried to find her again slipping into the dark book like a scuba diver lowering himself quietly down the side of the boat his mask flashing in the moonlight and when he read the sentenceThe Lords uent sailing in such a one one of the old Indian sloops he let go of the side slipping below the chair and under the water the light bulb above tingeing the water a lovely old green which slowly fell away as he glid out to the wonderful young woman out to the sea. They lived on an island together he and that girl o his his girl to whom he sang like a lunatic under the rain. It was funnlr like spritzer and the rusty Were Here theyd see leaping over the waves bent with wind and headed for shore they waved her away too and sat together reading the book and when the men came and took the car out of the driveway they hardly noticed good men but worried about lunch and luck when it was all just as simple as the design in a rug the print on a dress. The blue book was the hit of the summer. Bridge parties raged and the young woman knew new joy in her secret dress old flowers alive on a red field with the man falling in love with her slender arm her girls fingers her eyes blue and discovered anew with the cover of the book. On the third night the man finished the book a floor beneath her even breathing. Slowly he climbed upstairs. There was no way to tell her that he could love her this much enough to make her up and run away in the dark of the beach the moony canoe stuff glistening while she kissed him so many years ago with her beautiful pink lips. She was asleep. She was a beautiful sloop headed out to sea. He felt the top of her gown soft strap maneuvering easily over the known shoulder. From 19 the beach they could see his outline in the window the man and the woman holding the child the circle of light from the old circles the light that will circle the light in a circle tonight. THE MEN IN THE LABEL We bury our loved ones to forget. Then we launch their spirits into the sky. Or in the attic in any case bottles of Bermuda rum Ive stored with suitcases uniforms Uncle Cordiss Checkered pork pie hat finally this single wooden box that my wife has forgotten about only a third of the undrinkable Goslings rgTr stash because my sisters were given the rest Hathe crazy one onlyto pour it down the sink because she doesnt drink the other who drank it not knowing whose it was. On the labels Hppy Barbados men load crates of the rum onto a brown and yellow dock endless circle anEastern 7o7 flying my happy parents back to us in midwinter. I feel good that its up there in the original Box unused because Id be grown up if I used it the next to see the dark. Ive gone up there popped open the transom to the ceiling stood on chairs and swung clumsily up into The dark world friendly with 8th Air Force traveling luggage red-zippered hatboxes second-choice pictures and snakeskin electrical leads. I have gone up there to apologize to the black men 21 For whoever shouted at them to move the rum faster for it is hot in the picture. I dont think my parents would have shouted at them. But now they are the only ones who know about my parents And their second honeymoon and so Ive offered them the rum if theyll just tell me about that time how my mother must have looked young when she was alone with him. I pour the oldest stevedore a tall glass He scratches his head and tells me yes they seemed hppy they remarked about the quality of the rum and talked about pirates and the West Indies trade when Salem vessels sailed to Martinique to Nevis and Antigua and because they Knew these things and because they were alone and in love with each other and because they were going to beat customs by carrying the rum onboard the jet separately the rum was going to be treasured and spent Only on special o..u.ilrr. on rainy days in the eyes of their child at night when the phone grows downstairs like a black plant when the icebox hides its light and a few late travelers drive by In cars now when Im up over my head apologizing to men Ive made up who are now making up details laughing joking following me with improbable family anecdotes to some late and unreasonable shore. 22 FROM THE BOTTOM As if I arn on te ry47 Byrd expedition the luxury one no one has heard about where he brought women and cigarets to the exasperation of British scientists and you one of the women below Capricorn of course slipping belowRoss Ice Shelf to the sound of Rudy Vallee the barks of Emperor penguins Scotts ink bottle still frozel a fewyards from his destination a dozen Scotts maybe all of them like me in love urith you inches from the pole our hands frozerr in a clutch near the bottle of ink aluminum fingers ipulating a sheaf of stiff white letters in the metal wind the giant silence of the pole except when the ice eats a ship and then its the sound of gunshots thousands of them collapsing into matchbox timber and then nothing and more nothing we talk of nothing and its an American nothing a dancinggirls nothing rising from the bottom of the world. 23 CORVETTE Its what it takes fromyou the gate the sentry the oversimplification of the base chapel the old math that ceremoniously pours the cement path that leads to the heavy bleu awning of the Naval Air Station Officers Club South Weymouth. The commanding officer lives over there in a neat white box exec. a jealous hedge away a rg-mph paradise. Inside the noq is a linen room a floor above anotherlinen room. A floor below descends into stardust and breaded shrimp two-hour phone booths and above them Departure Control stirring up jet shimmers on Orion Street Eyes on red night dialz brake pucks slamming on the same burned dime It is going to be 98 degrees tonight and all you hear is the words the turned back of a solitary figure walking down the hall swimming on a sweaty bed the ashtray luxury of being bored. 24 FOOTPRINTS A man and a woman are sitting over there at a table bending over a pair of tropical drinks. Automobilesbwzz by as they are at a cafe in a square in the center of town not more than z5 yards from the spot where travelers have to decide whether to go north or south. From here it looks as if they are whispering but then the woman gets up and walks to the wall Iooking at the road as if it is the ocean as if the tar is going to roll up into surf and smash this silver car which has just turned on its headlights into the cafes yellow wall and drain back into itself until all is motion surrounding the cafe the night doing everything in its power to reinforce the sensation patrons lizard still beneath the cool umbrella tables while everything else is moving moving disappearing into the night until the man looks up and sees the woman staring at the abyss he walks up to her and puts his arm around her shoulder the drinks cool bells on the floating tablecloth the arch of her heels swashy as she pulls a leg partway up her dress while she tells him that they need to spend some time apart that her feelings for him arent what shed hoped they could be at this point and they both look over the wall and the man thinks of her feelings trying as hard as he can to imagine what she feels but all he can do is stare down at his two hands and yet he knows that he should be careful of her feelings and so he takes them to the only place he knows where theyll be safe the place where planes are taken out in the desert so they wont rust B-24 Liberators and B-r 7 Flying Fortresses parked in vanishing points at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Arizona so arid there that generations of inventory are stored there in case nations decide they want to conduct World War II all over again and so he imagines the women hes known taxied out into position under the desert sky the secret ones covered by tarps pools of red nail polish dripping slowly into the sand caretakers strolling by to ensure the aging process is stopped properly chocks rolled under the wheels and the party dresses hanging limply iike indoor flags above the desert floor. Hes crossed the mountain now and is heading down over the purple threshold and onto the tarmac with security lax in recent decades its easy enough to slip through the turrets and M-6os to where the women are kept and when he reaches her hand she responds easily to his touch her eyes slide onto the runway as they leap into the night over the resort towns with their 25 restaurants belowIittle pockets of light where more people are dining convinced they know each other colorfully dressed and fronting the ocean like the best rich friends they are inseparable navigating the dark coastline and suddenly veering north alone in a car evening towns behind them rising out of the ocean thats far from the desert far from sherbet Oceana and the lonelies in Virginia the airplanes whirring below heaven like obedient stars. z6 AERIAL The chest x-ray of Kennebunk Beach is an 8 x ro photo taken by the J. W. Sewall Company of Thomaston Inc. from tooooo feet. You see the triple crescents over to Hartley Lords house the skinny L of the bath houses last summers cars in the driveway. The photography is used for coast and geodetic surveys It is filed vertically in town halls with white Iines eptly painted to indicate zoning or whatnot. On the near edge a dory is filled with my father going to heaven. Further inspection reveals the dorys blue hull with green trim construction on the Liversidge cottage halted at the time of the photo a frisbee lost on the roof of the Narragansett Hotel. Then gulls gulls open sea the neat rectangular white edge. 27 COAT OF ARMS Walking across the swamp in high heels the woman was quick to point out the several injustices. It was sloshy Micmac country the grass stone yellow. Far in the distance beyond the old railroad bridge was their boat. Theyd left it in order to trek to an inn for lunch one theyd seen earlier on the road but now the swamp had ruined everythingmoved from out of the background and into the foreground. Kennebec. People in the inn could just make them out the woman holding her skirt like a tablecloth green in the air the frequent stoPs the arguments. Inside the inn the owners collie tuned herself like an old ship-to-shore radio finally zeroing in and then fading out a radio curiosity never quite making it to a bark. They finally got there. Everyone at the inn was now asleep. They ordered deep rich scallop chowder. The woman slid her toe in first then a long tan readers leg. The innkeeper grinned. She unpeeled her muddy clothing and sunk below the surface. The collie ran to the shore of her chowder barking. The beau added pepper. The living room was Agamenticus. Everyone was startled when her heel floated up upside down revealing her familys Scottish coat of arms. z8 GREEN CACTUS Broke a sort of psr sound barrier in the desert of Iast week Mhere youre still here on the other side of words like chair orwindow or week Qryearr but itls not linear anymeree just trusted your sensible life skidded to a crash c miles behind vou in the desert and now theres just this after. Everyone gone horne. Shoutif your.antto. Youre still sitting in your seat aftertheyve locked the theater door. 29 BATTERS BOX In front of a theater when a man turns his back I see my father in him the way he stands with a cigarette and talkslike that the wind luffing the slack of his white shirt there in summer parties yes exactly that stance and do you see the way he holds his arm out there like the boom of a small sailboat one that sails back from war and meets my mother and calls her Chi Chi A set of motions the sound of blue or brown canvas shoes. The guys hair is all wrong. My son Colin enjoys science. A car pulls up in front of the beach swings its long nose into the front of our driveway and drives away. 30 NEWS Brand new red zx in a swamp an old Route 1 swamp in Scarborough I know it goes back to tfre Saccarappa Indians this swampe before the massacre of tToz fields of broom out to the blue Atlantic from the Kings Highway over the guardrail to the heaven of birds sands too white clarn shells and rusty tankers on their way to Nova Scotia. Speed chose this spot for him the kids skid like the word. zoology spinning his eyes loose into a soft splash. At night the swamp was surprised. Terns shuffIed their deck hit the sky like a pack of cards. For he will die close to Anjons for the car is too red and too new for him to own for policemen are bouncing toward him behind flashlights. Cars whip by racing trash against the roadside. Sand lines the road too. beach against the swamp where he is sitting Astonished that he has chosen this place to end it all this uncertain land that the Highway Department owns convenient thmway to the next townn land before the land that has no end. 31 ALMOST NOTHING Roses and nightingales hummed in the Cantonese carpet below your quick-moving feet. The cottage looked so new. I returned there too late once house now full of uncles backingup in the driveway. I opened the green screen door. Try to sleep you said again tonight. Sleep like theres a cliff youre falling off your lover beside you. Downstairs shoeless Fields of rosa rugosa hum bloody murder below the lights of a radio tuned to almost nothing. 32 DIEGO GARCIA Palm-treed atoll dropped behind the Earths refrigerator and lost Vasco da Gama discovered it hiding all alone out hereo pre-New York Times turquoise waves smashing against the lonely airstrip coral dunes a perfect fashion shoot pressed like an iris in my black-and-white flight manual at 2 AM on the top row of the bookcase me alone pressing stories a simple lamp throwingdown a circle of Iight that drops like a stonelight ripples washing up years against the island 1o years ago enormous wave throwing simulated instrument time up onto this beach that nobody sees that nobody should see because I didnt see it either for the first time becauseit was gorgeous to be unimportant in an important place LTJG among admirals because people are walking on the roof of the apartment where f live over me andmy island stomping on the darknessn crying out like wolves Ive never seen. 33 LIKE A DEER As a boy he visited Deerfield Academy where he found an arrowhead. soft brown flint knotched 3oo years ago. Thoreau T he Maine W oods Indians stole noiselessly into his examples of good ssndugl-sn Indian you see would never cry. The best things ran like deer were soft like deer had eyes like deer even if they made no sense. Good coffee for example had eyes like deer. His boyhood disappearedlike adeer into the woods. Walking doe-eyed so no one can hear us I ease my son into the same birchbark canoe. 34 SUIT AND TIE A man sat by a window on the third floor of a building. Lights were out on the first floor of the building. Lights were warm on the second but they were out too. He had walked upstairs and flushed the sidewalks the sidewalk maples and the long day quite behind him. His only trail was the stairs. Days like burnt toast. He looked behind him. Nothing was following. He looked again and made damn sure. He would leave everyone and think about the Night-Blooming Cereus and a group of people crowded around it at midnight on the r zth of June so many summers earlier. His wife had slipped under her blanket. Humans were digging in the earth gnarled hands pulling up coiled roots pulling up violins ground sounded below the whir of the air conditioner. He thought of the slip that hed found in his garage recording the first embarrassing white flower. The strong penmanship of his grandfather marked it down just as he had signed the USS Deltas captains Iog at Bizerte in r943. The flower came from a long candlelike bud after the Star Spangled Banner and the white hiss the early cable snapped off. Bizerte-the Navy flies hitting the buglight. All gone. He wondered about the plant. Strangely he wondered about it. Tuesday was moneys dark jelly. The phone rvas ringing downstairs. He could faintly hear it. He got up slowly and descended happily into the bloom. t NIGHT-BLOOMING CEREUS TWO f cant make it out. Theres a light and a man up there is rubbing the back of his neck. He holds a pencil with his other hand. A puff of smoke issues from the pencil so I was wrong. The chair moves and I see it is a woman at the desk. I see her arm. She sits back on a bed and starts smoking reaching back to something on the desk. In the next room to her right I see a green plant. Looking back in her room I see a cuckoo clock but its not. She gets up bathed in light. She walks into an unlit room. I wait here with my fingers on the keys. Her room is a still life. I move my head up and dovrn and the room moves up and down in my eyes but it isnt any good like this. The curtain in the plant room gets lifted by a breeze. I wait across the street. After a while I look back at the room. Kinda quiet. There are smudges on the base of her window from touching. Light catches them. Theres no way to end this. Except shes back in a blue sweatshirt fast looking for something now standing up Iooking out of the window turning off the light. A back wall catches light from her hall soft stuff. A shape moves about in the room. She steps across to the right where the desk was but now its dropped away. I could be looking at the taxis if she sees me. My head is pointed down in the direction of the taxis. I could be rvriting a story about a man in a taxi and the stranger he picks up the conversation they have at midnight while the sky gets bigger and bigger and it busts all white with pink tints oily and new the flower that is the flower of strangers that bursts in the door subpoena peonied light pouring like tears a big apology the neighbors pounding at something they dont have a right to feel or read or even understand. 36 C O FFEE A lush Tchaikovsky silence please the string section leaps into the afterhush. What cauntrf are they from The radio is trlingto tell us about children being slaughtered as they flee across snow-covered mountain passes True but too much like the Tchaikovsky Like the stain of silence that spills and sparkles down my blue lapel. 37 FALL There was a man who with his wife built a dream house. Birches. The way a swamp fox-colored ruffled its fur in the breeze. Dagger blue Water in a sleepy sine curve. Oldest child away at school. You know That everyone turns on a view after two or three years the blue herons old hat After a while because why dontthey do something The birches books In a library you never plan to read catching fire disappearing Behind your car like any burning New England Alexandr j8 NEW ENGLAND FREATS As if I am Cushing Island across the bay. Gulls fly in cheap suits across the shipyard bulwarks big and drowsy and a woman walking up to the black switchboard who looks like my mother. The ocean a cookieless tin slammed into a clean oven. Eight thousand soldiers crowd onto the feny. The engines groan like the beginning of something a new haircut Fathers with silver certilicates water around me pavedwithmoon. i9 STRANGERS Dark house with evergreen shutters piano crouched in the corner and the light just right Iike this and because of the beautiful old lady serving us shrimp in a Celadon dish oh so Mimi-like even the dog so Dukey-like slinking under the almost perfect table I find myself returning to that room now not a mansion but a Civil War room that has once been quarters for slaves the bigger house beside us uncling in the dark some other family we do not know inside it figures moving beside their lamps in the way that strangers have an affinity for movement and lamps. I am in love with what I observe of strangers six-packs of beer left behind at the campsite Well you know these strangers flushes upstairs of the toilet laughs downstairs people who make the water run cold. So we are talking to King Dierdorf and his wife whom I remember a good deal but not her name since not everyone has a name Iike King and we are seven together and interested in the old dog under the piano who is good as gold unless children are there and then old Dukey moves back cautiously like a good story pulling us in under the piano bench with the ball and claw feet and over our heads Mimi and Bondaddy and King and his wife are talking admirally over spots of bourbon in the converted slave quarters some quarters with an iron gate outside and swirling hardwood banisters that fly down from the second floor but can you imagine slaves ever saying whee. And roundabout half an hour under the talk that spills out of their mouths like radio taIk. my twelve-year-old sister looks upstairs in the slave quarters and sees a man stepping with some liquidity across a shaft of light. And she remarks to the adults that she doesnt know anyone is living upstairs tenant perhaps and Mrs. King Iooks up wildly and with a good deal of fear says was it a woman. Wasnt woman was man says my sister and then Mrs. King tells us about the Claude ghost who comes into her family quietly to make a presence just before another member of that family is to die it isnt a cruel ghost but a lady unmistakable in her bearing. confirmed for centuries in a long black dress without grimace but just a motion across a stairway or through a beam of light. Mrs. King looks at Janie who at r z is like a radio receiver for such things no corroded terminals or former marriages or wars to scuff things and my sister says no. this is a man a strong 41 looking man although he is absolutely quiet and has taken a single swift step in profile at the top of the stairs. Well then all the men are going up there Bondad and my father and seven-year-old we and no one is up there but the party is ruined and we kids are saying Claude ghost Claude ghost in the back of the Falcon as we drive back along Duke of Gloucester Street up above the old inn then turn up the hill toward Charles Street where in the next 1o years my relatives will disappear and disappear and disappear and disappear and disappear without anyone showing up even to light a cigarette no black man darting across a passageway or the soft swish of a dress and then the rest above the dress and then the white face and cold eyes I have imagined so many times the quick glance that will not be unkind but will tell rne certainly what is going to happen to me with an iceless courtesy I will never understand unless a stranger tells me something I can work with my recent days finding clothes on the beach Iost sunglasses a single boot seaweed Janie and a crazy persons way of thinking deeded right of way to lake means you must not actually be on the lake face of the ghost appearing not actually there did you see it you must never see it 42 in the splash of a wave shadow of shoes floating into closets that are not yours yes Strangers. And their secret talk. 4 NIGHT Its not a story if a story is a kind of blindfold and the words a set of eyes. There is every reason to be in this boat alone the familiar lines broken by oarlocks the creak and ancient fishermans swing gliding then resting the months behind me not like silver pavilions but just somewhere where we were a second ago swirling reflections of a dark green boat a young man inside it if I close my eyes I see it meI guess silhouettes watching calmly from the shore on which the world stands alive the restaurants spilling light down on the water crowds of people two glasses an elaborately misplaced streetlight not a sound. I can hear people outside my window. Four floors below everyone is going somewhere a new place crazyl easy and luminous Js Oyster Bar maybe bad stools and raucous shucking beautiful dirty shrieking Coughing. God the oceans of coughing. A green wave hits I turn over and fall asleep dead funny dead elaborately misplaced funny its dead oars plashing through stygian darkness not a sound. 44 ANNAPOLIS When I think of the old sun on Stribling WaIk me new as spray paint with aII the yawls on the Severn behind me tacking with midshipmen in crew cuts leaping to the commands of newly graduated ensigns what comes down is that same sun oafish and furry sun with breath like Crest while we waited for taps and the last slapping footsteps of the midshipman officer of the watch. Sound drowned in the Rotunda he was gone soon enough until at z ewr the drips in the heads and tlee faucets terse song shrunk into how young we were alone after studies were over stealing out in favorite dirty gym gear to the place called the Ho Chi Minh Trail steam path below the snowr Soviet world. 45 PREV IEWS Hot slacks pace the civilian heat. Ive got quivers in the banana trees. Pigeons unwraP the candy bar wings genius saying packages packages flapping into zero. In a story that is breathtaking the picture the whole rvorld is waiting for. Remembering the fuzzy feel of my sons head when I rub it. Did you ever make up your mind to say something to someone and then you couldnt say it when shes standing right in front of you. She is to star in Zanucks production. Ive gotta laugh. Spent almost 20 years being sad. Put the stars on the clothesline. Snap your shadow with a towel. For the rest of that summer I was afraid to walk down a dark corridor alone. 46 THE LAN MY HAND Supernal Cliquot Club smashed on the rocks does not give of air. Words maybe but no warmth-placeholder words dead-ended in language. Language is made of leather guage skin wrinkles and the lan the feel of your hand on it the eyes wide open the even breathing. So I was walking past the sodium lights and the white curve of Cannes looking for the right pink dress old luggage in myhand. Dead-ended but forced to look at the cream-colored hotel with the green shutters five stories and fishing boats piled to the side. Wed sailed in on a destroyer anchored in Villefranche a train and new wine with eyes eooo miles away this Europe doesnt count until its ours. Youre in another room now asleep and I know I love you again eight years later you with the warmth pouring into night the sparkling eyes the night on liberty and you the lan my hand the even breathing the unwatched ship. 47 EIOTET REINE ELIZABETII The tops of buildines zen gardens raked gravel where ail-eonditioning ducts and skylights surprise vanish raove Absolute and not program.nrusic Somethiug pulling you out af TuesdaX4 out of the sonrewhet Vietorian abulia betwecn Coke andDict Coke dafk swatch where histoqyio foreskln wae sun and. soiireonefaxinE mssling fui 48 BELOW THE SALT This night is strange like the night when Donnie the Townie found a dead body by the channel buoy at the mouth of the river chop. Across the river in the Colony Hotel guests danced unknowing Donnie and his boat 3o feet below the sparkle of seacoast towns all the way down to Nubble Light. The guests were doing the watusi. The guests were piling up health for themselves. ft was quieter where Donnie was down there at low tide no headlights no cars tunneling into the dark like Kool Filter roos. They couldnt see him because of the hedges and because at night the breakwater drew a black line across their field of vision. They couldnt see him because that black line was a cummerbund and besides it was low tide. They couldnt see him because why would they be looking for him Below the black line was Donnie. The bottom half was sound not light waves slapping invisibly into the gurgle of his sea horse on idle his red throttle centered while Donnie scrambled to the gunwale and looked down. The woman who loved the man Donnie found met Donnie the next morning when they were both in the newspaper story. They were both rolled up together in the Kennebunk Star delivered by housekeeping with the breakfast muffins and the Colony embossed butter to the guests at the Colony Hotel. This night is strange but it is not the same night that Donnie the Townie found that guy. Walking outside I hear two people below the surf arguing. I turn on the big wooden radio connected to Rome London Havana Oslo Melbourne Madrid Springfield the old yellow light sucking in the dark Donnies dark slow boats and medium waves rolling in from these equivalent cities. 49 THE SILENT GARDENER Lying on my back with my boat athwart the waves I dreamed the sun was pickled and dropped in a green bottle. I felt the red skin of the sun through my eyes. I was alone in the same summer my father remembered when he was a boy. He tanned like a nubian wore dark blue shirts ripped at the sleeves. Girls drove by in cars or rather cars drove by in pictures there is one talking to your mother and brother Marshall while you at the right-hand edge are poised behind a push mower named The Silent Gardener. Above you is the cloud youIl fly through with Germany on the other side. Beside you the garage roof. The big dipper stopped above it like a train. 5o This first edition of Undertou.t consists of 5oo copies set in Intertype Waverly a quirky modern face designed by George Trenholm. The book is printed on acid-free paper and has been smythe-sewn so the pages wont fall out no matter how many times you read it. 9.95 Praise for Elush ln these rich and highly charged poems the reoder feeis token to o great fieight where the selfbecornes lorge ond Eorth smoll. Poems offshes tow- en forests prots the sky the seo. Everything is rocing speeding folling througlt distonce tlme ond spoce through possion ond meditotive silence. And yet hroughout oll the single voice the low ond ordinoty humon voice- the fother the child. -Carblyn Chute 7 lsBN 0-91t342-t7-7 I On Undertow GOOD SIUFF rnsphing-mokes one rethink ones own Moine ond other moments aptt rhythmicolly beoutifully. -fanwillem van de WCtering Colin Sargents poety is teffific orL He can embroce you with warm l. brb6 r r sionistic detoil and in the next breoth stun you with slashes of brilliant color. He is unofroid to hond you o colleaon of priceless portrorts of fomi of lovers of deported friends ond suddenly set those pictures oflame. He might come ot you with o ftstful of feor as in the poerns Dark Bag How did we get here ond Cactus your sensible life skidded to o qrgsh . Or cony you into o cromped interioi ond somehow hold you there os in Corvette swimming on an empty bed for your entireyoutirr. He tokes anger ond despoir ond futility on o holidoy stirs them into chowder in the. . poem Coat of Arms. ln News he sketches the deoth of o speeder with o perspectiye so right you o19 both over the scehe ond sinking under the sur- foce of the woter-left hanging onto one stonge word for deor life. Ihese poems ore the primitive pointlngs of an Americon ortisg the ones he refused to sell the wild ond personol works thot leod us to o new under stonding .. . J Sorgent is bold ond ullmotely dongerous becouse he mokes you porticipote i points bock to the poem to creation itsefond soyq You sow that didnt yod You were olive just now right...And you find yourselfsaying Yes but where om l Nghtnow. tlx t trllstrn -Dan Domench . i r.f rti . .. d -u_-.J- z .-_ . Jrr Yr l -- f t --1---randnsi S I Wilhel -d rt.. r - rrdt alrt 1r ll a-. t r. i Born in 1954 in Ponland Maine Colin Sargent grew up boating off the coast of Kennebunk Beach and among the lsles of Shoals and was a na- tionally ranked decathlete in high school and at Annapolis. As a Navp . pilot he flew helicopters over France Spain ltaly Africa and the Indian Ocean. He has been editor of the Navys Approoch Ma_gazirre is listed in f nteravias Whot Who in Aviation Aerospoce andis3urrently founding editor and publisher of Portlond Maines City Magazine estab- lished 1985. He has been a feature reader on PBS Raiiio Pacifica atthq . StoneCoast Writers Conference in Maine. and the Writers Cnr in 1- Washington D.C. A 1994 Maine Touring Anis he is the author of two other books of poetry Luftwoffe Snowshoes and Eluihrfundeft tn part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. . t- .. Irf. - t l Y. F .rt ... 1 ..ltt t . r t . . r I tt t -_ attr -ars i.. r-l r h 1 . Itl r rt Llet r P t. . e r-el Souvetoyo 54 265 3 25E the most remote location on earth. Cover painting by M. D. Ryus