Lying - on a beach in Ventura, as elsewhere


Through the hole I let you leave in my consciousness
gulls and ocean samed a film with sound and
I could have been anywhere
anywhere, perhaps, but there
reminding myself I can be anywhere.
Still, the sand had texture. Its temperature varied and
the beach wind blew me into Place.
Unchilled, I could have been anywhere.


I think I'm present only to Conditions. In the presence
of your absence
indisputable as the presence of the wind and
sand I packed to wall myself against it
one could say that I was present there
sandwall windward.


how that resounds
illumination that the place I'm in is called
yes, in So-Far
but never farther
as I lay warming in the ashy dry sand
that I'd walled three-fourths around with damp sand
I was present.
I broke the morning's brusque three-quarters wind succinctly
while giving pretty testimony to Activity.


Oh it took time to build that fortress.
I was very cold and I had time
time on my hands
along with sand and
newsprint; the Los Angeles Times was also
palpably There, ballooning crisply as I read it
taking my time.
You give me lots of blackhole hours/I let you
give me empty space.


There was no poem. The landscape failed me/I failed it.


Business called you elsewhere, where it reached you readily.
You, I think, found Else-Where (Some-
Time) liked it better there and stayed.
Once I did, too, but now I'm looking for the charm.


I played poseuse, tried first to summon you to see me
by sculpting my windbreak. Another snapshot series featured
Me Inside the Wall
lying or sitting
with or without the tigerlily in my hair
with or without the L.A. Times
with or without the purple paisley primitive
over my blink-pink bikini
with or without sunglasses
with or without the customary pen behind my ear
but you didn't take your pick
not even when my mindpix caught me ankle-deep
then thigh-deep in the surf
where it was far too cold to linger.
Last I walked into the wind and watched myself gathering searock.
I later gave the perfect one to you.


Hotel room had a glancing view of shoreline
and that long reach seaward of a popcorn wharf.
When we arrived, I would have run that long pier with you
looking for the charm
gladly immune to cold in that cold darkness
if you'd had even twenty minutes to spare.
Maybe there was some tacky charm out there.


Don't think I fail to empathize with your set of problems
I see you've chosen Business Problems.
I, too, am often bound by business
always bound by my own vision and
until we manage to dismount our
occasionally converging
roofs, you'll remain continually en crise
while I remain en crise/in love.


Bearing in mind your timeframe, I left the beach alone
In Time;
therefore the pose you finally caught was
Me Day-Dressed
with wet hair braided and bound back
(a dancer's look)
waving, having spied you
with Harold
from the balcony
Time-Framed at high noon/high above our
never-was seascape.


Harold Sees Us.
You've cast him that god and
also fixed two demi-hemi-semigods for us
so we have Our Three Muses;
their presence throws me into other poses
ones you seem pleased enough to reckon with.
After the Balcony Scene, I did the Cool Astute Professional
checking item/item/item with you
over lunch; making calls and
penetrating asides to Harold.
Nightbefore, at Cyrano's, I'd done for him The Fantasist
as we discussed The Film. Watching Harold, you were proud
of my ideas and how I reached them.
Then I did the Schoolgirl-Poet-Crazy Lady
racing down hills
and swinging around sidewalk signposts
in the same baredress I'd shivered in while waiting
for an hour at the airport
because you got there as soon as you could.
Before our gods and
others, I've posed casual and formal
posed as mistress of repartee and interview
posed wry or frantic over
deadlines, posed sipping what must surely total a hundred sunrises.
We have pleased the gods (and the uninitiated).
You watch me move constrained in your sphere.


Sometimes you see me. This is
me, this is no pose. This is
the woman who is white paper
behind this prose.

1978, 2011 Katherine Anne Harris. All Rights Reserved.

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