(for Carolyn and John)


They loll just like an unruly army,
Tired and stressed by their sea-playing day.


A colony of overweight, naked
Colonels; Mirounga angustirostris;


Living logs, oiled-up and stone-rock coloured
Blubber, they huddle like a dying herd


Of couch-size maggots. They burp and shriek:
A strange pantomime at the ocean’s edge.


Gregarious sunbathers now wind-blown;
One flicks up sand, as two others stretch high


And aggressively fawn, a ritual,
As they bite and show their salmon-pink throats.


Some check our presence with doleful eyes,
Others grossly crawl-flap to the water;


One elegantly moves through satin waves;
Several, farther out, head-bob around


Like bald men basking in holiday sun.
A weird sculpture sprawled out on the shore,


Performance art by drunken aliens,
They move and moan, an abandoned lament;


A shipwreck of creatures overlapping
Their woes, they litter the place like loafers.


Part-comic, part-tragic, they lie behind
Big Sur’s fast road and the thrill-seeking cars.


Peter Thabit Jones (c) 2016




Published in POEMS FROM A CABIN ON BIG SUR by Peter Thabit Jones, 2011