When I was a young man in my twenties, I was fond of writing poetry. A good deal of it was written while mildly intoxicated, and usually it was scribbled on a bar napkin (hey, what can I say? I experienced the ’60s to the max!). Anyway, this particular poem was not written in a bar, but was composed at home after a visit to a New York City beach located at the southern tip of Brooklyn (oddly, there is also a beach by the same name located in California). The visit was significant enough to prompt me to write about it. I hope you enjoy what I wrote.
A poem by Joe Perrone Jr ca. 1968
I first saw Manhattan Beach in my youth, With its old couples strolling the sand, Smiling faces advertising their love. I watched as young mermaids, Waded bravely into the water, Wearing oversized tee shirts turned inside out, To hide the names of high schools, That everyone knew they went to, anyway. In the public lockers, men with brown faces, Flashed gold-toothed smiles, And pushed their way beneath my shower, While miniature replicas tripped over my feet, Unabashed in their zeal to join their fathers, Who, when I protested, mouth agape, Generously offered to share their soap And bought a smile to my face, in spite of myself. Old men with waves of endless wrinkles, Baked in the sun and leered jealously, At bronzed demigods with no wrinkles at all. Children built glorious castles in the sand, And cried as they crumbled with the tide. Then, as if lacking memory or common sense, Rebuilt them once again, it seemed, Without the slightest worry. On the boardwalk, vendors with red faces and tired feet, Presented white smiles,punctuated by flashes of gold, As they peddled hot soda and cold knishes, And wiped their greasy hands on off-white aprons, Saying “thanking you, Mister” in broken English. Then, inspired by their modest success, They pushed their clattering carts over the planks, As orange and blue umbrellas snapped in the breeze. Yesterday, I saw Manhattan Beach as a man, And was amused by its lack of stature, Reflecting how, as a kid from Brooklyn, I had marveled at its magnitude. I walked along the edge of the ebbing sea, Soothed my feet in the outgoing tide, And scanned the horizon for something familiar, Instead I found some old sand castles—still intact.
NOTE – Joe Perrone Jr is the author of the Matt Davis Mystery Series: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day (a 2012 Indie B.R.A.G. medallion winner), Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. All four are available in paperback and E-book from Amazon.com. As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, and Twice Bitten are also in audiobook from Audible.com, with Broken Promises currently in production. If humor is your cup of tea, consider Joe’s rip-roaring, coming-of-age novel, Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, set in the tumultuous Sixties, or A “Real” Man’s Guide to Divorce (First, you bend over and . . . ). Both are available in print, E-book, and audio book editions.
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