Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 1, March 2010

Michael McClintock
Fresno, California, USA


Point Fermin Light

a ship’s horn
comes in by the window
and glides over the floor

It's going on midnight in Michigan and I think of you, how you let the dog drink from the toilet and are untroubled eating porterhouse steak when you can get it, with buttered potatoes, sleeping the sleep of the just each night, waking each day to work a job you hate but never walk away from, lest the world end and you fall into unimaginable vice, while I, wakeful, drown in unreason on the edge of the world, by the Pacific, that ocean of dragons and bloodless hands you have not seen and do not wish to see.

the night hours
go slowly, alone—
the wind, the moon

Off Portuguese Bend the fish fill the ship-littered basins, they turn in shoals and fly like clouds before a gale down the steep, restless canyons of the sea bed: a fierce profusion, mindless of hierarchies, that some men find troubling, or leave troubled. I have been of both minds, and now think a man might take his own bad dreams and join them, leaping into the glimmer below the cliffs at Palos Verdes, hoping to know their careless and immortal moment, the thing a man cannot know; ten thousand years the poets have tried. A dismaying knowledge: the best poems end in silence.

no other sound
but the chain on the gate,
the rattle it makes—

Outside your clapboard cottage on Jefferson Street you keep an all-weather animal repeller with motion sensor, and live secure with just that, nothing fancy. Your arguments with the world are small arguments, therefore also may be the more noble. I do not know. The world is strange.

I am parked in my car on a windy bluff where old Nike missile batteries stand as mausoleums formed of iron and concrete, dug into the rock palisades. I can see our mechanical guardian, the Point Fermin light, where another answer is made to the blind gods – a thin, sharp beam, a line cast outward like a whip upon the dark, soft chaos: mute as an oyster, my friend.

"Point Fermin Light" was first published in Raw Nerves VIII:1, 2002



Current Contents about archives resources search submissions current