The Time I Found Zen Peace at the Ocean

The Time I Found Zen Peace at the Ocean

After I found myself alone in the sea that was Clarkdale I paddled on my vending machine raft with a wild bastard fire, the steam of the night effervescing into my lungs and making me an engine of soft, human mechano-chemistry. I breathed in the acrid vapor and made enough energy to glow yellow in the Arizona night. I found a current with my shining vision and rode it all the way to the California border, then everything from Joshua Tree to drowning L.A. was a wailing delta.

Going fast as sound down Vine I dragged a wake of bio-luminescent fish behind me and I was a comet, lickety-split past the plastic of my resuscitated nation. The water caught the foam of the ocean and struggled with the tide coming high with sunrise, waves hitting waves like boxers turned lovers, I was sopping and fearsome.

The roar of the journey had been such a constant that I couldn't tell what was wrong when it finally went quiet, at least for a little while. My raft crashed on the wet sand of some re-virginized beach and I smelled the morning crawl atop my shoulders. On my knees, my hands full of sand clumps, I felt my center take on mass. It was a dense, dark ball of self falling into a waltzing mutual orbit with every other clod of this world. I was bald and had a full head of hair, my hair was black and my hair was gold. I was crippled and I could run. I was a man in a dive bar in the merciless Midwest and I was a woman floating down a river in a canyon cutting through the desert.

I didn't want her anymore. Not the gold-haired woman, not Annette the Brunette or emphysema Gladys from back home. I sat back, crossed my legs and leaned up against the vending machine which had planted itself on the shore upside down with a cabana umbrella sticking out of it skyward. When the last of the flood water went home to the ocean it brought all kinds of discarded West Coast Americana to the sand. Muscle cars, sputtering tanks from oxygen bars, a taco stand and a sunglass hut. Those and a thousand other scraps I didn't care to remember forming a wall along the lip of the always-young Pacific. I blossomed there for a time, maybe a few grains shy of six months, and when I rose up the first sound I heard was a seagull. She cawed and dropped an arching fish back into the water.

If you find this volume and you have your own reason to give it shelter in your jacket for now, maybe you'll find me in my cart peddling down I-10 or stopping to sell the Japanese greens that grow on the roadside throughout the verdant South. I won't take you with me, but you may learn to find comfort in the confession that I love you and that I know as much as any mortal thing can know that your suffering is not meaningless. I placed my infinite kiss on the bindings here. Accept it as the most any kiss can ever be, as a distant thing no more beholden to flesh as to any other fabric.