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Submission Numero Uno (just copied and pasted directly from the author):
Swimming to New Race
–International Adoption and Salt Air-
By Gregory D. Gross
Professor, Social Work Department
(phone number and e-mail withheld)
On the Beach
The Seoul cop had to hike up his pants
To bend down
To squat over and squint into what he’d found
Outside the precinct gate
Outside the Confucian tradition
Outside matrimonial manners
Outside the capacity to cope
Outside the law
Outside a mother’s tortured screaming
For one more day with her baby
She can not keep
Seoul cop’s noon kim-chee burned
All the way down
And into the night.
Adrift ‘Midst the Swells
Beyond the dateline and the continental drift
Where western couples sit and sift
Through December’s solstice yearnings,
A Pearl Harbor Day toast
(a nip of Southern Comfort at the most),
We decided to put off our quest for the perfect tree
For one more week, and then we’ll see
What spirit moves us.
No need to go outside.
No need to heat up the car.
No need to go outside.
No need to tarry far.
Although it’s hard, no Christmas card
Contains the long awaited magic
Made so by an infant’s mug shot mania
Made so by the perfect match
Of east meets west before winter’s end.
A thaw will breeze over New York.
A Seoul cop will let her go
And she will come with the Spring.
On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day
She seized these yearning arms to stay,
Traveled across so many seas
To land in eager hands as these,
Flown around the horn, over the pole,
Down Greenland’s frozen coast
Along the Hudson’s Van Winkle banks.
Oh, Joanna, in your nine months,
Odysseus has nothing on you!
Pious Aeneus, home to Rome,
Made a journey far more brief.
Huck and Jim seemed mighty slim
In their up-river rush
To claim a New World.
Korean Air, now aloft
Flying fast, landing soft
(though never did 22 hours last so long
or touch-down rob such breath)
We salute your ovarian take-off.
We hold high your uterine flight.
We embrace your precious zygote cargo.
Go ahead, buzz the tower,
Tip your wing
Hire back the humbled souls of reaganstrike
Shoot the curl!
Naked or not
I’m the last white kid on the block,
Which is my clan – –
The last white boy in the band.
A whithered white russian on the rocks
All curdled and clotted cream.
Here, dripping in my whiteness
That has seen its last
Tanning shoulders, hot and buttered, bent to the wind.
No Chingachgook tears shed for a dying race
In his mourning glory
(‘cept my father’s).
Just the Edge
Of color, pressed against another heir
Like the snowline at Everest basecamp one.
Like the glacial rim along
Maunaloa’s december icecreep
Where rainforest greens its way
Toward her ancient dormant mouth.
A Yukon apothesis.
This the ivory of Pequod quest
To sound and breach no more.
Blind down below.
The color of light
O’er all that is seen and unseen
As if lost in an arctic whiteout dream.
A new moon
A fresh tide
Counting the sets, waiting
Makaha fools the foreign born
With her slight summer surf.
Her placid surface masks a monster
That hides in the unseen sand;
A monster that breathes not
Yet will suck the living breath from any man
As if to steal his air for
No good reason.
Perhaps to feed the froth that laces her shore,
Perhaps to outspit some southsea rival,
Perhaps to cool and mock Pele,
Fire goddess with spit of her own – –
New lava for a new land,
A mere sandspeck in the eye of an oyster
To Makaha’s hidden Scylla.
We’re talkin’ the mother of all whirlpools!
An undertow whose source must lie at the equator
Because it will take you there
Given half a chance.
Its force originates at the center of the earth.
Ancient ankles, kneecaps, and thighs
Drawn and dragged to some core
Beyond Lethe, river of forgetfulness,
Beyond the howling snapping jaws of Serberus,
that hound, three-headed, who guards
the subterranean root-cellar beneath all graveyards.
At Makaha you must stay afloat.
Swim for your life.
Stay on top.
Don’t touch a single toe to the reef.
It was at Makaha that I learned that
Nature abhors a vacuum.
Flopping about, all a-splash
Flailing around, all worn out,
I noticed that salt water is neither
Salt nor water.
I also wondered how much, if any,
Salt water went into salt water taffy
But mainly I noticed that salt water is
Salt nor water (nor taffy).
And I noticed that the breaking waves
Were neither air nor salt water,
The way the head of a beer isn’t really beer at all.
Although at the same time, it is clear
That salt water is indeed salt and water
And the head of a beer is indeed air and beer – –
And why I imagined St. Patrick
Converting the Celts with a shamrock,
each leaf a separate manifestation of god,
Why I imagined this
I don’t know.
Because let’s face it
Neither salt and water nor beer and air
Make up two-thirds of any trinity
I know of
But I digress.
Makaha and her salt water reminded me
Nature abhors a vacuum.
The race that slipped from my face
Must have gone somewhere.
To the equator?
And my darling dauter (her spelling)
Brought us a gift from the east.
A new day
A new color in our home.
The Makaha foam
At the edge
Of a small continent, itself adrift,
Not air, not salt, not water,
Defied the undertow,
And exulted its hybred-edness.
With a beer chaser.
Heads up; surf’s up
Bicoastal, bi-racial, by golly!