Ocean Avenue

From the bluffs this sea is blue’s silver at the horizon,
a slash of water, shimmering, silver, and the sky is silver’s blue,
the mountains, blue. There are no whitecaps today, flat
far out, but closer in white water bursts as the waves break
at the shoreline. In the sky only cirrus clouds and the streak
of a skywriter spelling out silver blue. The ocean’s dull
thud if you listen closely. I’m so happy I can’t stand it.

On the other side of the low fence at the edge of the cliffline, grasses
are blowing in the breeze like seaweed. The sun is almost at its height,
just past noon. Warm, hot, and the hills sloping down towards Point Dume
and Malibu resemble a sleeping camel. You can see for miles up here:
The expanse from Trancas to the north around past the pier
and the ferris wheel past the Marina down to Redondo
and Hermosa to the south. I look out from this spot
and I see China.

My father taught me to love the ocean when I was ten;
not to fear the waves; when to jump over or dive under;
when to go deep and flatten against the sand;
how to pick yourself up again if a wave tumbles you violently;
that when you’re scraped up seriously the salt water stings
like medicine and is the best medicine. We scattered my father’s
ashes in this ocean and sang Alla en el Rancho Grande.

One last long look at the water before I return home,
taking in the sweep of the Santa Monica Bay, making sense
of the silver light in a funnel shape just below the sun, starting
narrow and spreading out wide on the horizon.
One sailboat has made it almost to Catalina.
It’s not only the colors here which break the heart.
I hope I will live to be one hundred. But when my time comes
scatter me into this drink with some roses and song
and I will never be alone.