Key West.

Visit her studio at
I shall surface like the mermaid seal, untouchable…

This is an extract from the poetic evocation of the sixties ‘A Shadow in Yucatan’ which is set in Florida. (A review can be found under ‘Books’) Posting this today is a celebration of a memory offered by Erica Robuck’s Undercover Soundtrack on

The painting is offered with the kind permission of the artist Trisha Adams whose studio can/ no, should be visited  for a taste of sunlight.

Sunday- Key West.

I shall go hang on the Continent’s tail, beyond the Barfly at Sloppy Joe’s
Heedless of his beard and belching, my oaths will be toes
in the aimless water…Nostrils to the brindled air.
Space will shimmer scents from Tenochtitlan.
Gold bracelets bind me to the suicide of Cortez.
I am lost, but I shall find. They will never follow me.

I shall tread juice from tobacco clippings, and watch the old men spit.
Havana ola, in the speckled shadows of the straw market, my feet in the ashes, my cheeks smeared with clay, wanton, outcast like them.
I shall not lick or roll. I shall not have to work
I shall simply be there.
For a day.

I shall eat smoked mackerel, pungent with wood,
steamed by the water, in a tipping boat.
The heaving horizon I shall tame to undulation.
I have spoken. I shall swim.
I shall tip boat-barrel and glide among the hawsers of
forgotten hulks, black amid keels, menacing with mouths. Treasure is forgetfulness.
I shall sink.

I shall surface like the mermaid seal, untouchable.
Drag my gleaming limb.
Lollop and skid on the board-walk to watch the taffeta water
summon the world to drink.
I shall squint through rust and bitumen.
Bite through my lip.

The surgeon sun will fit me legs, brace my back and bandage my eyes.
I will be led to convalesce.
The gold gulf wind will draw me unobserved
past shutters, rocking chairs and limes.
The machismo of yesterday is a hat by the water’s edge.

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