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Memorial Lighthouse — Trinidad, Ca.

Trinidad Lighthouse

Memorial Lighthouse, Trinidad Civic Club, Trinidad, Ca.  — JCagney

Bone spur of the lighthouse

Excavated from the hillside

By diligent shovels of weather

Stands purified under the administration

Of the sun; overseer to an ocean

Of scales flashing white and green.

An old man sits at a bench

shepherding the wet painting of the horizon.

As we approach, he pulls the loaded rifle

of his terrier closer to his chest.

They await what has already arrived—

The radiant ignition of ocean

The coastlines dancers of granite & basalt

tossing gowns of sheer water,

foam livid in their teeth

My friend and I stand on a cliff between

a small lighthouse & brick wall.  We stink

of endless afternoons of gravel and coffee;

yet the dog stays at peace in the old man’s lap.

Over the hymn of ocean

my friend, compelled by spirit,

turns to me, announces:

I want to be reborn

as a lighthouse

I imagine him conducting

an orchestra of waves

His tongue an aero beacon

slicing fog like cake.

We turn to the

stone wall behind us and read

the engraved names of those

lost and buried at sea.

the ocean both city and cemetery.

The taken and the disappeared

remain as letters to a vacated name

& the range of years they were responsible for

Were they buried with illnesses intent?

Or lost to the endless curiosity of the waves

What circumstances in life

Will lead you to step into the mystery

of what fevers beneath the surface of the sea?

Will you be weather or rock or lighthouse

Or letters assembled in combination

To unlock a spirit from its tomb

Perhaps the afterlife isn’t above

But below.  Perhaps dog and man know this

& wait.

for the opening of the sacred text

for seagulls to chant names

into the rock wall canvas

for lyrics of the ocean’s song to be revealed

Like children, we approach the old man


as to the appetite

& habits of the lighthouse

& its ocean

But the old man only turns

to stare through us

& silently mourn our sanity

as black fleas

drip from his dogs chest

like blood-clots


It took several rewrites to get this to flow correctly.  I’m finally ready to walk away.

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