(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