The Coast, No. 10: Public Fishing Pier

IMG_7577Photograph by Diana Young.

You go down to the pier with a croaker sack full of chicken
necks where a man disguised as a pile of gin- and sea-salt
stinking rags asks “Is they rancid?” He’s an old man. You
can tell by the tufts of white ear-hair wiggling in the
breeze off the Cat Island Sound. You can also tell by
his thin, dry liver-y lips. You can tell when he says
“You do what you want widdat mop-head you call
a crabnet, kid, but them necks? They ain’t rancid,
yer wastin yer time.” He blinks his rheumy
blue eyes at you, but not in a ass-grabby kinda way.
You can tell he’s no perv. No, his problem is visionary.
He can barely see through cataract membranes
translucent as a softshell crab, dreamy-like.
He simply can’t see the truth, that you’re no stupid kid
standing barefooted holding a tattered crab net in one hand
and a burlap bag of way gone chicken necks in the other.
You may look stupid, but you know you ain’t
and that’s what matters in the game of life.
So you stun him by—smart as any kid on the make—saying;
“Fuckin-A, I’ll do what I please.”

Then you dump the necks onto the pier’s planking,
hoping the gnarly gristle and scraps of flesh
are rancid enough to satisfy the old fart. Mites
swarm. A seagull strafes, eyeing those necks, his
breakfast if he’s quick and lucky.

The gluey-mouthed man says nothing.
He is silent as an unwanted guest.
He shakes his head. White hair billows
on the breeze from Cat Island, whips
fantastical whorls of white mane
and white ear-hair
mad ear mustaches.
Must have taken years of grooming
to get ’em like he wants ’em.

You wonder whether you care what he thinks.

Carefully with crusty fingers Whitey fingers open
your tangled crab net and says: “Rotten net.”
He grumbles as he begins picking at net threads.
Parchment hand and finger skin patchy in spots
seared by melanomas, scaly knuckles, claw nails.
“Crappy net.”
He rips. He ties. He reties. He hums.

It is no tune you recognize.
Being just a smart-mouthed kid,
how could you know what songs
he wasted his youth on?

Now his hum is more of a purr.
Some cat this old fart.
You don’t want it to end.


IMG_3652Photograph by Diana Young

Just read the latest news by email.
A complaint of suspicious activity
At a beach hotel known for sin.
A self-professed prostitute
Identified the man in an adjacent room
As her pimp, an investigator said.
She told officers desperate lies.
Deputies arrested both of them.
Police summoned a K-9 team.
They believed drugs were in the rooms.

Deputies arrested both of them.
Felony charges of meth possession,
Promoting prostitution, resisting.
The man admitted he was pimping,
Overseeing her services,
Selling sex for money.

“They were in it together,” the Deputy said.
According to her, any token of gratitude is worth a nickel.
Likes to have a shower in the morning,
Singing that old treasure song about
The stolen figurine that comes asking for bread.

Don’t you see? Stupidity jumps both ways.
An enigma jumps both ways, too. And I think
A fly in the house is fucking cosmopolitan,
It’s like having a trained assassin stay overnight,
Or letting heartbreaking lies
Roll over us like a summer breeze.



Pinhole photograph by Diana Young.

They say the egg is an ovoid
which I always thought
was something like
Ovid, known for
his performing
eight hundred
summersaults in
towns & villages
all across Sicilia
places like Syra-
cusa and Selinunte
before he was banished
to the Outer Zone of the
Major Leagues and traded
to the Chicago Cubs along with
two outfielders and an aging spitballer
for a hotshot kid pitcher named Krimosos.