Wrote this one this morning; still in the very early stages of revision.
Lincoln City, Oregon
We sit in the new parking lot and watch
the fun: a kite surfer, a Frisbee game,
children with buckets and spades--
everyone frolicking on the beach.
They don't know any better.
They've never seen this beach without
the looming hulk of the new casino
rising up above them,
the thousand parking spots,
the new access road that runs by
the bi-mart instead of the old two-lane
through a rich green tunnel of trees.
The windowless buffet in the casino
instead of the old Dunes Café
salt-crusted windows looking over the waves
and German pancakes with lemon and sugar.
(Nothing as far as the eye could see
but a few shingled cottages and cliffs
of rocks where seabirds nest. A winding
road above bordered in wild roses.)
Of course they are going to have fun--
it's what they came to do, after all. They won't
miss what has been lost, what my family
had for three generations.
Maybe it's always this way. We have to love
what's left--the strip of sand and wind--
because we want to love,
want to escape to the beach,
want to frolic, even if it's in a diminished
world--otherwise, we sit in the car above it all,
diminished ourselves. But how can I leap
out now and track through the waves, singing?