The leaves turn up in the wet wind,
exposing the branches and lifeless bones.
They buried Sinatra today, lowering
him into sad California with a bottle,
a pack of camels, his lighter and 10 dimes,
so he'd have money to make a call.
Here on the beach, a woman finds sharks' teeth,
spending hours picking the tiny teeth of great fish
from the sand with a jeweler's focus,
dropping her trophies in a sandwich bag,
spending hours doing this, at the edge of the long bay.
The predators float up through the southern capes
leaving their old teeth for the stooped collectors
who have nothing to do at home, and like you and me
just want to find something pure,
something beautiful and strangely arrived.
I see young girls in old women all the time--
just look at this old gal crossing the road,
her shins blotched, stockings around her ankles,
the makeup, the cowboy hat, big smile,
moving from an old dream to a new one,
and the tooth collector, tough and wrinkled
but not so long ago sitting on the beach,
where she gets her teeth now, smoking a cigarette,
fixing her suit, searching for the Sinatra song on a small blue radio.
At night, I lie in my bunk in my little wood boat,
warm against the hull, wavering with the water outside,
a body of knowledge thinking I might want an ordeal to be put to
or a delegation of mindreaders, here to accuse me of losing interest;
there is very little to be won or lost, I think
by having a momentous life; goals, achievements
are the blurred posts of the highly revved;
it is truer and better to be down here in the sand,
lost in the everywhere, hearing your breath
take you into the future, beating & exhaling,
beating and breathing, all through the everywhere
like a bird that flies so close you can see his smile.