The Coast, No. 4: White House Hotel, July 1987


Photograph by Diana Young.

The hotel was a shambles of renovation when we checked in, but we didn’t care. In fact, it was what we wanted, all that chaos and the anonymity of being the only guests in an unfinished room on the second floor front with french doors onto a balcony overlooking the swimming pool and all that southern charm, the live oaks and palms and swards of lush St. Augustine down to Highway 90 where semis groaned toward Bethlehem. Out beyond that, the dredged-up Emerald Beach. Farther out, the Sound, a stinking bouillabaisse of rotting sea life churned by endless screwing blades of freighters, barges, and shrimp trawlers working the Intercoastal from New Orleans to Mobile.
We ordered a TV for our room. We did not want to miss the Iran-Contra Hearing. We had traveled far for the chance. We waited. Promptly at one, Spider delivered a dusty pink portable Admiral on a metal stand. He also brought a floor fan, saying we were going to die in the heat iffn we didn’t use it. He plugged it in and the lights went out.

Light in the Darkness

IMG_3868(On an untitled photograph by Diana Young)

Does light in the darkness
speak to you? Do the hues,
the values, the shapes whisper
a story, choke you with a curse,
or do they permit
you to breathe
the ignited air?
No direction,
only lust?

It’s all about photons, isn’t it,
and how they jazz up the leaves?
But who can read the messages delivered
by photons screaming? What’s to be made
of what the elaborate conjuring photons
posit, set forth — dare?
Nothing’s to be made.
Photons do not conjure,
display, posit, or dare.

It’s up to you to scream, to touch
the light, caress skin
crush folds
crunch dried leaves
between your eye teeth,
chew on the message
until it comes to you
straight and singed by fire.