The Coast

A new era saucers out of the gene pool as the night sky burns.
At the borders of water, greater needs than birth arc out
of original torque. Vector intensities move through primal
​​                  grasses and current rustlings
of Andromeda brushing hair on the back of the neck,
as if at some point we’ll be mastering time, the ends of oceans
lifting into rains, and triggering pods and sheaths, to float out
in multiples, designing ornate spreads for hydroid-churned
                  ​​mollusk spawns, stitching
in a new heart valve, conceiving catalytic refinements.

All night, the sea waves explode from their chests onto shore,
                  ​​in so many projectors running
at once, blending great numbers of characters this moment
civilization’s unsettling. In this part of probability, luminous
                  ​​have been moss-lanterned treks
to the sea where complex otherness hatches. Symbolizing nothing
has been water where first visions go and the old world roars.
Hinged on paradox awash in the sea-blood body are sea-womb
​​                  meanings, seahorses riding
in their father’s pouch. The more animal bodies we’ve industrially
buried, the more no one here stays the same, with Mayan dust
and the King’s English, Chevrolets and kernels of corn lit
​​                  from within by sun, needle-eye
winds in the aerobic medulla oblongata with endorphic
swarms of strategic readiness in drivers’ seats of hunches,
​​                  as tribal string players squatting
in the body, if you’ve parked where you can see the ocean.

James Grabill

About James Grabill

James Grabill’s poems have appeared in numerous periodicals such as The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), Magma (UK), Toronto Quarterly (CAN), Harvard Review (US), Terrain (US), Seneca Review (US), Urthona (UK), kayak (US), Plumwood Mountain (AUS), Caliban (US), Spittoon (US), Weber: The Contemporary West (US), The Common Review (US), and Buddhist Poetry Review (US). His books include Poem Rising Out of the James Grabill’s recent work is online at the Buddhist Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Terrain, Urthona (UK), Shenandoah, The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), East West Journal, The Common Review, Toronto Quarterly, Elohi Gadugi, Oxonian Review (UK), Plumwood Mountain (AUS), Caliban, Spittoon, Weber: The Contemporary West, and many others. His books include Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994) and An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), both from Lynx House Press. Wordcraft of Oregon has published his new project of environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Book One, 2014 (available online -, Book Two, 2015 (now available). A long-time Oregon resident, he teaches 'systems thinking' and global issues relative to sustainability.
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