11 June 2007

The Dead Beachboy

When he first came out of the sea, his lungs popped like kelp. One eye kept staring out to sea while the other fixed beachside, waiting for the boys to sweep him up into their arms. He wanted endless love and knew that they could never provide it. His hair was salt and moan, sea and fortune. When he exhaled, he breathed out their names: Brian, Carl, Dennis, Mike, Alan - seamless and drifting, they looped in endless coils right the way up the beach and over the dunes, an odd plainsong that dragged even the wounded birds from their nests.

In time, he found rhythm and rhyme in the piles of sand and seaflash and made himself a voice - degraded perhaps, and pulsing but a voice nevertheless. He had one hand by the end, dragged himself around in crop circles like the wounded birds, found a way forward with the flaps of whaleskin and cuttlefish that bleached at the edges of the rockpools.

He made a crown of deep thorns and lichen and wore it proudly. He sang a song, still waiting for brothers he couldn't be sure were ever alive.

Fennesz - Endless Summer

But still they didn't come and so he curled into a shell, a mollusc, a tango in taupe and waited for the sealaps and the moon.

A threeday past.

The sea never ranged and roared; everything was ghostly still (the idea of a frozen ghost was still the only joke that made him laugh) and the wind went upwards to play in the trees a thousand miles inland.

Every cough was an oyster drop or a lampworm. Every hooked crescent he drew in the beach was a sign upstairs to where God lived or outthere were God played. He called again but got nothing except cools and cawls from the seabirds and Puffins (he didn't see Puffins as seabirds and told them so, in his way).

He scared some children but they were jammed and birdpecked and anyway were down beachscrobbling to feed asphalt and mandrake and yeast to the gulls. They saw his lone arm and sad eyes and burst into enough tears to fill a sandpool.

"Do you know my brothers?" he called out as they turned and fled but by then his sandpocked cheek had already puffed out to issue forth a final, desperate song:

All Yousendit Denigradations

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