I made notes of docking posts
pointing out to murky reflections
of tourists that didn’t have time
for a souvenir mug or a picture
with a black trumpeter content with his brass,
and nothing else, blowing life into the seagull
sky, making the clouds pop and drop spray-
mist jazz, which accompanied his trumpet
with a gentle washboard scrape.
He beat his heel to the thousand pin-drops
of passerby earrings, crab sweatpant draw-
strings, and trawl nets dissolving into the sea.
Baltimore filled the margins
of a travel notebook alongside
pencil sketches of the Aquarium,
Prufrockian split claws
wrapped in algae bandages,
that homeless man weakly thumbing
through a pocket bible, the 32
cents wearing sea salt jackets,
and my cold girlfriend pulling on patron
sweaters in an art museum closet.
But it’s all a gimmick.
It’s $22 crab cakes
sweatshirts that say New York
or D.C. or Everything on a Disposable
Tired of the idea, I threw the page
over the edge, hoping to drown
it in green, but I never heard it hit
the water. I braced myself on a life
ring rack, leaned over,
and watched it settle into a natural
barge of dead leaves and orange peels
while sea foam circled
it like a bed skirt that’s only
noticed for the few seconds spent stripping
down before going to sleep
just to wake up to rain on the Royal Sonesta,
kids racing down the hall, the obligatory
and the black trumpeter’s groove
four floors down.
A poem originally titled "Guts," but, after some restructuring, became this. I dig it.