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I thought I’d live on a boat

on the blue water


              when the dawn rose up

              when the rain fell down


I thought a little log

I’d slip in the fire


              as the rain fell down

              as the dawn rose up


I thought I’d row to shore

in a bright little dinghy


              while the sun rose up

              while the rain fell down


and I did.

yes I did.






breakfast is over


              Mr. Great Blue Heron – here I come


                             rowing past.






Oh I know


I’m mad to love this place


but when the cormorant dives and red sails


on the horizon slightly move . . .





boisterous Annie

friend of Snyder, East-born Annie

blond pigtails, little house three floats,

long bending board walk, red window

curved roof striped wall ungainly tan

mushroom sculpture walls painted those

purple pink patterns smoke stack something

very happy very mad something

very glad to be alive.






broad-chested shirt off boat-builder

eating supper off a tin plate, evening sun,

blond-headed tanned-skin hammer-wielder

long-thinker thinks about boat plans

revolution making love saw teeth

cedar chips broken hearts co-op planning

rainy-weather day-dreamer Dudley

cross-legged on a scavenged oak chair

eating supper off an old tin plate.





Rheingeld, meaning I suppose,

              the Golden Queen,

where did you get that accent

and how do you come to live on Manatee

with Pancho Villa’s black-haired grandson?





quiet on the water


oil lamp waking


fresh air on the bow, gulls


call for the sun to rise


but fog covers all.



Now the rooster crows

like nobody would notice the yellow sun

but the mommas of Gate Six noticed,

I can tell, cause four grade-schoolers

just ran by skipping and yelling “Hey,

is the bus gone? Come on!”

toting their lunch pails, leaving our community,

up before everybody,

to learn something about how shore people think.


Gate Six, this is where rubble is King!

Gate Six your gate is a small path

past the compost heap, corn husks and cantaloupe halves,

through blooming squash, petunias and lettuce heads,

over the itty-bit bridge to the meeting area,

              by the Brown House,

              between the ferries:

Charles Van Damme,

its hulking square frame

huge-beamed red paddle wheels,

and the two-stacker white Issaquah,

her lower decks submerged at high tide.


No straight lines at Gate Six,

sinking planks, tipsy floats, sunken barges.

Building inspectors don’t even enter here past the sign

              “Tourists — Stay Out: We Live Here,”

past the hot wires hanging along posts

the bizarre confusion

of square houses geodesic domes,

hulking tugs styrofoam floats flat roofs

peaked roofs windowless lifeboats,

the two-masted Governor MBM.

Dirty-faced stone-pitching kids all barefoot

pregnant mothers scruffy fathers

talking of weather and boats and beer and scores

and sitting round the meeting table watching

comers and goers day or night.

Scrap-wood fire in the cut-out metal float

              the dogs

barking at strangers a rooster

strutting about flapping on an overturned crate,

at Gate Six

               where the folks know each other.


Know where Adam ties up

where Andy stretches

where Jonquil wakes

from dreaming of marriage, dancing drums,

              and Evie

sees the new sun on the water

              and Ale

pours his first cup of beer

even before he opens his eyes.


The overturned skiffs.

The corrugated metal shacks

and heaps of boards.

The picnic table. 

The idle chain-link swing set.


              a mother in a long green dress

                             walks her blond girl to the bus

                                           hand in hand


The masts, antennas, radio music,

“Mierda” written in green, trash cans,


is where rubble is King!

And we wend through it

and like it this way

cause it keeps out strangers.


And we like our privacy

and our little community

we like being a bit scary

we know what it’s like here

and what pier to take

and what ramp to cross

and if you get lost when you come down here

              then please

don’t come down here.


              Don’t bother us with

your landsman’s rules and shore ideas.

We got our own ideas by the water

and they suit us fine

just fine.






with no word


              evening comes. rise


                             and light the first lamp






after the winds all day


              this perfect silence.


                             is that a horn?

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