The rain on the back of my neck reminds me to snap the yellow rubber coat.
I think of the ocean, spray in my face, childhood in cold water, blue lips.
I do not know the Sea, not in the way of those
who depend upon its wealth and vagaries for life – hard, blistered lives.
The ocean is where I go, entering by sail or surf.
The pleasure of wind on canvas, The cold thrill of surf as it carries me along.
I do not know the city and its streets either, not in the way of those
whose lives are spent surviving them – hard, mean survival.
The place where young men do not get up because there is nowhere to stand.
Where young women do not sleep because their hungry babies cry.
Old men remember better lives, memories ease the burn of cheap wine.
The women are old before they live, wine cannot douse their burning.
The towns are where I have lived, the square entered from the boulevard,
the bandstand decked in bunting, the faces of Stepford all around.
I do not know foreign lands, not in the way of those
for whom our garbage is sustenance. I cannot know their hard, hungry lives.
I enter their countries in first class, take limousines to five star hotels.
I am never the foreigner and accents are mass produced like quaint trinkets.
Once again the rain reminds me where I am. It is late as I am going.
I pull the hood of my slicker tight and tack into the wind.