poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

"I was staying on a beloved part of the Northern California coast intending to write, but all I kept doing was taking thirty second videos of the sea. It seemed like such an absurd activity (the sea was right there!), but I was compelled. On the page I'd been troubling our environmental future; perhaps the videos were little stays against the End.” 

—Dana Levin

Watching the Sea Go

              Thirty seconds of yellow lichen.

Thirty seconds of coil and surge,
            fern and froth, thirty seconds
                         of salt, rock, fog, spray.

                                                               Clouds
moving slowly to the left―

            A door in a rock through which you could see

                                      ―

another rock,
                       laved by the weedy tide.

            Like filming breathing―thirty seconds

of tidal drag, fingering
             the smaller stones
                          down the black beach―what color

             was that, aquamarine?
Starfish spread

                         their salmon-colored hands.

                                     ―

            I stood and I shot them.

I stood and I watched them
            right after I shot them: thirty seconds of smashed sea
                         while the real sea

                            thrashed and heaved―

           They were the most boring movies ever made.
I wanted

                       to mount them together and press play.

                                     ―

           Thirty seconds of waves colliding.

Kelp

           with its open attitudes, seals
                        riding the swells, curved in a row

                        just under the water―

                                    the sea,
            over and over.
                                    Before it’s over.
 

Copyright @ 2014 by Dana Levin. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright @ 2014 by Dana Levin. Used with permission of the author.

Dana Levin

Dana Levin

Dana Levin is the author of Banana Palace (Copper Canyon Press, 2016) and Sky Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), among other books. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

by this poet

poem

The mind sports god-extensions.

It's the mountain from which
        the tributaries spring: self, self, self, self—

        rivering up
                on curling plumes
        from his elaborate
                head-piece

                of smoke.

poem
You put a bag around your head and walked into the river.
You

walked into the river with a bag around your head and you were
never dead 

game on the banks of your
mental styx

for the double
audience

of smoke—


               —


You pressed a coin into his palm and stepped across the water.
You

stepped
poem
It’s a thrill to say No.
 
The way it smothers
everything that beckons―
 
Any baby in a crib
will meet No’s palm
on its mouth.
 
And nothing sweet
can ever happen
 
 
             
2