AFTERNOON IN BLANES
…the thousand lotions, the sunscreens, the smell of democracy, of civilisation.
The stay-at-home daughters of Europe
bare their breasts to a harsher sun
than the one we imagined
before being breathed upon
in the unsung miracle of seed-time.
Not everyone on board understands this.
Johnny Inkhorn, for one,
can’t think of a wilder show
to bring home to his crib in The Valley,
saying uh-huh or oh-oh
to the ever- shorter shorts.
But the ferrymen are watching him,
wary Old World fathers to a man,
bleary-eyed with the timeless mirror
of the Mediterranean, conversant
with what floats below the surface
of decorum. Tolerant, till the hurt
hits home, of all- comers.
There but for the grace
of a nod and a wink go all
dumped in the drink like so much
that seemed so recently essential.
The corpse retains its capacity for surprises.
In particular the one about there being no death,
at least not yet. That and the shoals of small fish
working on his beach body now so close to the shore.
He never would have imagined such multiform
displays just a few feet from the nearest paddlers.
Or so painless a disintegration, if that’s what this is.
Who’d have thought the mind lived on
with its leaky house while in such terrible shape?
No one, that’s who. Who now wonders if he’ll have to wait
till the salt suckers grind him down
to get to meet some other nobodies.
But in the meantime must hang with the plastic and other
waste swirling around him, another feature of these parts,
like a scruffy planetarium’s grindhouse version
of the universe, and pass the time by reading all the labels
now that it’s too late to inherit the earth.