An austerity of angles sprouting from wild grasses

A beach house in the Pines

Along windswept edges of town
amid stern midcentury angles,
a bright unsunny light filters and glances;
limns the geometric emptinesses between things
on a weekend in shoulder season
on a slip of land off the coast of Long Island.

The color of the wood sea-silvered— salt boxes
beheaded, re-envisioned by exacting minds,
rise out of a low wild landscape to divide,
bisect, and generally make sensible for city dwellers
the unfathomed abundance of sky above the breakers.

No quaint adornments, no flower boxes, finials,
no lacy curtains dance on ocean breezes, flutter out open windows.
Floating panes refract the vast surround until at dusk velvet dark
the reflected scrims inverse— reveal interior stages of we-scale dramas;
unveil views on strict styled stages beneath linear precise prosceniums.

In the deeper hours, silhouettes of deer move among the low pines
grazing, and foxes chase along the sanded strand beneath a
dull-bright moon, unfettered by the intrusion of angles in the
wild grasses, unheeding of stories not their own.

A Fire Island Pines beach houseFire Island Pines houseA Fire Island Pines beach house

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Scenes from a nearby barrier island


Here are some photographs from my brief but lovely stay in Cherry Grove, Fire Island last week. A soothing balm, and the friends I stayed with had a little oasis of a cottage on the bayside. It was so serene and lovely that I didn’t even go off on a wander to photograph more of the town this time— and that’s rare for me.

More photos after the jump.

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Drawing people and feeding sea birds


Another half day spent at the beach, and two more people added to the sketchbook. I also made a silly little movie of sea birds —fluttering, fighting, and diving as they do— posted on Instagram.

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Returning from Riis Beach after a light rain warned of a coming storm

The rain was very light, but the skies were darkening. After learning what the satellites warned, we broke camp— packed as quickly as possible, ran to the boardwalk and rode fast to beat the real rain at our backs. Made it to a bayside pub to wait out the rain then another quick dash to the ferry dock.

By the time everyone boarded the rain had stopped. Later, as we rounded the bend toward the Verrazano Narrows, the divide between the portside storm and clear skies ashore (starboard) was dramatic, and those of us on deck got a little of the rain. (Still, better to be on deck in rain and wind than below in the too-chilling air conditioning.)

The situation of the weather in these photos brings to mind the original meaning of the word POSH: Port Out; Starboard Home. On a larger vessel, posh seats would have been just the thing in this case.Back in Sunset Park, cycling northward on Second Ave, the post-storm light was too good, so I had to stop to take pictures a few times. 

From here I can see the curve of of the earth

Here are the days—
Heat, haze
on the horizon like a
matte painting, wavering

This part of summer
finds me un-hungry.
I have no appetite.
My desires simplified,
bleached
like the half-shells of
bi-valves, left hollow on the sand.

The sounds of waves,
shrieking gulls, soft wind—
And the gradual granular erosion
of my skin, cell by cell.
A pretzel taste on dry lips.
The penetrating tiredness,
and how sun-soaked skin
feels temperatures differently now.

The monotony of waves,
endless motion
that results in a kind of
pounding stillness,
a loud silence,
a dense-packed solitude.
Time stops for a few hours.
There is a profound reassurance
in these contradictions.

Tide in, tide out
Salt and sand—
abrasives
that soothe, and erase.

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How swimming in the ocean leaves a pretzel taste on the lips


The feeling when

You’ve got back from the beach—
shook out the sand
donned fresh togs.

Open the window, or maybe
the air conditioner.

Nothing left.
All’s as it was before the beach
Save that pretzel taste on your lips
and a fine tiredness—

that welcome, long lost fatigue
peculiar to beach days.