on the beach, eyes unaccustomed to bright
yes intensity, such white and blue
obese tastelessness, unschooled style engendering
tackiness – fugitive
when there’s no escaping illness, aging, death
so where are the children?
the nurture of what’s good for the future?

New Hampshire is a sense of adventure
Florida, the welfare state of Social Security

if this were a foreign nation
how appalling
the consumer excess, life of shopping and dining
personal pleasure with no acknowledged
social responsibility or consequences

even so, I count six manatee
at the power plant outflow

hundreds of thousands of elderly Americans dwell
as royalty unguided in leisure – how much
could be accomplished with all this time
squandered on pleasuring itself – so they’re
golfing, dining endlessly, betting at racetracks
while a dozen pelicans in slant formation
swing inland across the beach

they could be trying to make sense of their lives
in the factory or the office Lend a hand with the kids
rather than this many-hungered final excess
before nursing homes and the surgeons rake the rest in

it’s escape, no doubt
even the Cadillac
on bald tires

all the same, it’s
in the night
of the Sunshine or Social Security State

now Squirrel gets in a long checkout line
and waits but when it’s his turn
there’s no one behind him

on the sand, hundreds of seabirds
all look in one direction

each departure is a kind of death
opening to something else

they stand on the driveway
waving to us
on the way to the airport, see,
many dead armadillo on the roadside
their feet in the air


a life oriented to leisure masks
the greatest leisure of all

the Model Californian
is a surfer
young and dislocated
Northern European

California is a “rootless community
with no really substantial base attachment
to the soil and no stable set of values and
a kind of political anarchy that results from it”
– the prototype of modern America
(but what’s the source of this note?)

with no REAL history here to speak of
like being in a very long line at the amusement park
and suddenly they buckle you in


That’s what Woodpecker said.


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