I wrote this poem during my second poetry class, sometime in October of last year. It was inspired by an event from a few weeks prior, revised, and then revised again this past May.
Party at the Beach
I know after walking in between the space from the taxi and behind the house
that I’ll have to keep my center of gravity from roaming out
with the crazy man on his yellow raft
on the waves, who like me,
have trouble deciding if they want to stay calm
or begin flailing tumultuously.
After all the times on Beach Road avoiding the cars and construction workers,
I felt some kind of mystery shielding me from the inhabitants
that live somewhere between the sand, seagulls, and sundrenched pavement.
So understand, that when I’m standing here with the rest of the crew team
licking the barbeque sauce off my fingers from the chicken I just ate
and checking to see if I’ve spilt any on my wrinkly green collared shirt,
I feel like my little cousin;
who always puts his fingers in his ears to block out the noises while
gripping rubber snakes and coat hangers so tightly they lose their shape.
I shift invisibly between all the pink shorts and Hawaiian shirts,
and find myself in a corner holding another one of those red cups
that have too much foam in them. I look at my watch and wonder
how long it will be until I manage to drown out this group of degenerates
content to shout or dance or laugh
as the noontime sun passes overhead and makes a shadow over the patio.
Time picks up,
and one of the sophomores tells me to choose a freshman.
That’s what I do and whatever-her-name-is gets impressed by something I say, but that’s it.
One of the guys and I manage to determine the purpose of life and the likelihood of an all-powerful god.
A high five happens somewhere after that,
our old captain pays a visit, saying something reassuring about boat racing.
The crowd moves onto the pavement, and by then
I am part of a body not my own.
I can’t think anymore. I just move forward…