Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Recommended Beach

//a recommended beach

A Recommended Beach

A lizard was soaking up
the blazing sun on our deck
overlooking The Bay as
we left, alone, on a summer Sunday
for a drive down the coast
to a recommended Mexican beach.

Past Californians
sunning like the lizard
or jogging or playing volleyball
on the beach
by the pounding ocean.
I thought it looked odd to see them
all down the coast
like hundreds of miles
of marathoners running
the length of California.

We slept in San Diego,
the motel a carnival of
jade-and-crimson flashing-neon signs,
rustling, spot-lighted palm trees
and the smell of fried food.
A balmy summer evening for walking hand in hand:
bursts of mariachi music, traffic,
landing planes, sightseeing sailors.

Through grungy, gaudy, makeshift Tijuana
to a dark, narrow freeway,
rimmed with handmade-looking
markers white as clam shells.
We drove through open country,
then turned off towards
the sea and down a nearly deserted
dirt road, the main street, apparently,
of the town we were staying in.
Dust devils swirled in the wind
and the small stucco buildings
were dusty-looking as buildings in
old sepia films.
"Why did they
recommend this?" I wondered.

"I think they thought it was unspoiled."

A few struggling, dusty geraniums
bordered the gingery white stucco hotel
It was musty inside
and smelled of old cooking oil.
Numerous unoccupied dining room tables
concealed under limp white tablecloths,
looked like a flotilla of beehives.
We saw ourselves in an enormous mirror
as a solitary, thin, bent, and shaking waiter
in a dingy white jacket
led us stiffly to a table
beside a salt-sprayed window.

Rugged, translucent green waves
walloped the steep, empty beach outside.
“Looks like quite an undertow,” you commented.
Something moved on the windswept ground and
caught my eye. A lizard like the one at home.

“There’s our lizard, on a Mexican vacation,” you said,
and grinned, and my heart turned over.

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