The Beachcomber



from half a summer's rovings,

the beachcomber,

today on the old coast

of Florida,

in a place the Spanish

settled in 1565,

begins by stepping 

from hard, high sun

into the heavy shade

of a beachside bar

bearing his name.

Standing at ease

in rolled linen sleeves,

he orders a bottle

of Newcastle Brown

from the leather-browed

bar man. Then

washes it down

in a cold rush,


the late July heat

beat down 

out the open doors,

on the dunes,

on the colored umbrellas,

on the unhatted heads

of the slow-passing

bathers and surfers.



St. Augustine-by-the-Sea

Late July 2013


Heavenly Body


               on watching the lunar eclipse


Burnished at first,

then blemished –

an earthly foreshadowing –

then bearded

for a while,

then pillow-cased

or gunny-sacked

like a Wonderland

white rabbit, one hind-

quarter sticking out;

then cataracted: 

shiny eye occluded

at 10.22

with a thin grey-flannel film;

then smudged

with a thumbprint

of tombstone lichen.

And soon, illumination

is resuming,

under the orange-gold

coating that mirrors the color

of the Falling trees

it floats above. Then

at 10.33, just a dusting left

of planetary pollen

on the lower extremities.

And, at the mellow tone, 10.40,

we return

to our regularly scheduled

heavenly body.



Central Park West

New York City

October 2004

from The Speed of Sight


Light Cycle




to slate

to glacier

to blue, to

sand to


to blood

orange to


to pearl 

to teal



to coal.



Kiawah Island

South Carolina

May 1999


Reading in the Rain



Our reader reclines

under a warm wool blanket,


with a good book,

on a broad bed


in a dry room

by the ocean’s edge.


While, through half-open

windows, rain falls


all along a dark coast;

out across an unlit ocean.


Falls for miles

through the black,


blustering, starless sky,

down to over-sodden sand.


Comforting our lone reader

under his blanket,


in his watertight room,

between the lines


and dry leaves

of his lamplit book.



Punta Zamach



February 2006


Painting with Light



Painting with brushes


and washes, gouaches,


of John Marin sea-light,


Monet Giverny-light.


Matisse odalisque


and Gaugin Te Aa


No Areois-light.


With Rembrandt face-light, 


Vermeer northern window-light.


With Constable cloud-light;


Winslow Homer Maine,


Bermuda sun, wind


and water-colored light.



in Central Park

New York City

July 2016