(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