Friday, June 21, 2013

Morning Walk - Summer Solstice

I make my morning walk today,
it is the summer solstice, after all –
the first morning of summer,
the longest day, the shortest night –

But what good is that, I ask –
a short night is not worth a plug nickel 
(to use my father’s vernacular) –

we love the night,
we make love at night,
sweet love we hope 
will never end,
an endless night of love –
we dream pure dreams 
at night, and pray 
those dreams come true –
we plot and strategize 
our plan of attack 
in the wee hours, 
at the midnight hour, 
at night.  

Of what value, then,
is a short night? 

Crossing the bridge, 
I shift my timepiece 
from 88five to 103five,
“traffic and weather 
together, on the eights,”
and the neurons start to fire
in rapid succession…

the tide is high – 
portions of the shore 
normally exposed
are submerged.  
I pause and watch
as the crawling critters 
flee the flood and seek 
refuge on higher ground,
inching closer and closer 
to the human walking trail –

I see tall stalks 
of phytolacca americana
growing in groves
along the shore, 
sprouting long green leaves,
greens my ancestors used to eat, 
as they headed north
to escape an immoral 
oppression. “It’s poison 
if you don’t cook it right…”
I can hear them whisper 
through the rush 
of the running tide…

my baby sister is writing poetry 
again, mostly in her letters.
I think about her as I turn the corner
onto Frances Scott Key Bridge.  
She is the better poet,
she has the gift, 
the power to apaziguar o dor –
that’s what friends are for.

I’m nearing home, 
my walk almost done.
The longest day of the year
opens its arms before me.
“From the Shenandoah 
to the Chesapeake,”
WTOP says on the radio --
all day long.  


  1. Good stuff. I started singing along to it, on and off again, with We love the night. Parts and parts really jump out too. I think one can go a lot of places with this if one wants to break it up too (it can be a little collection, like the walkabout), I went somewhere with: "we love the night" and "the longest day of the year" and "I hear them whisper / through the rush[es] / of the rising tide" and really with Apaziguar o dor and a calming and exciting love song (like the tide?), along some We Love the Night lines, with a refrain like:

    It's the longest day and
    That's what friends are for
    But I'm not your friend anymore
    My lover sings
    No, I'm not your friend anymore