Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ocean City

July 4, 1980

I can hear the ocean from here, a hushed breath rising and falling as I linger at the edge of sleep, my breathing somehow out of time with it, while around me, in this house, in this city, all others breathe in and out as if part of that never ending sea.
Everything seems so pure here, so fresh, so clean, filled with that seaside twinge I always feel whenever I come this close; I vibrate with it; I taste the bite of salt on the tip of my tongue each time I breathe in.
I listen and feel, keeping my eyes closed at first, as waves of air wash over me, stiff on a bed in a room filled with beds, my limbs pressed against this mattress as if some powerful body pinned me here.
I hear water pipes rattle and gush of water from the kitchen sink in one part of the house, telling me someone else is up at the hour many call ungodly, just at the winking of dawn.
It is not that I fear to move from the bed among beds in this room with one closet and many windows looking out at the streets the sun paints pink, but the discomfort the morning ache brings, and the need for it to settle down before I hobble up.
I am unable to face people in this condition and breathe deeply waiting for it all to change, the ocean falling slowly inside of me with a hiss of foam I cannot see.
This is not Passaic or my cold water flat where I live like a bear in a cave, drawn out of hibernation each morning to the rumble of trucks and the exploding of fireworks or gunfire (I often cannot tell which is which). I cannot hear the river there like I can the ocean here, leaving all other sounds muffled and filled with the intensity of potential, ready to explode, but unsatisfied.
Over night, I heard the dribble of rain on the roof, dreams filled with moisture and the scent of changing air, visions of things I cannot have here, yet crave none the less. The rain ceased long before I became conscious enough to miss it, and I struggle against returning to sleep which will satisfy me less, and devour this special time of day when I am at the edge of collecting some treasured moment I can only get here and now, and not when I get back to where I actually live.

I linger and long for the ocean, feeling its rhythm slowly seduce me, drawing me in and pushing me out, stirring up my blood until I throb with it, and come to it like those around me have, swaying in the sea breezes until I succumb.

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