Friday, January 27, 2012


Aphrodite came out of the sea,
Wearing jeans, a shell necklace,
A bunch of bangles at her wrist,
And nothing else.

I was there, on the beach,
In the first gray of morning,
A little ashy bonfire of a girl--

I was writing poems,
Which I considered, by turns,
To be well worth fucking me for,

To be the stupidest,
Most scorn-worthy scraps of weasel crap
Ever to insult an innocent blank page.

All these things depend upon
How recently you have stretched out on top of me,
Or how fresh your indifference,
Thorned into my borrowed shell.

"Aph," I said,
"Tell me,
How is it that the waves always come this way,
Wearing stones down to sand,
And yet...

I remain as dry as driftwood,
Smooth and silly and flat on my back,
Waiting to be carved?"

Aphrodite complained that she had lost a bangle in the surf;
I have seen many women's backs,
But hers, when she turned,
Was so beautiful, it reminded me of yours.

I know she didn't hear me, or care,
But still I asked,
"Why am I always the sunset, well-remembered, Aph?
And why never
The longed-for shore?"
for Mary's Mixed Bag at Real Toads.


Anonymous said...

C'mere ... (whispering) ... you had me with Aph's resuming from the blue in Stanza 1 ... If all poetry is love poetry (and I think it is), then Aphrodite surely is the muse of the yearning call. Are we worthy of her graces? Are our poetries god or worm on her shore? But you're exactly right--she doesn't give a dolphin's crap about our efforts; there ain't no Artists Anonymous for those of us whose verses disappear into the drink; the ages are silent in their judgement on our most earnest call. Hell, Eurydice prefers the heart's shadowland to sashaying close for a kiss, preferring, as you say in that perfect final stanza, departure to arrival. Thing is, why else do we keep writing, but to get Aph to turn around and come back ashore and bless us just this once? - B

Mary said...

I love your concept of Aphrodite, Shay...and I love the last stanza. Yes, why the remembered rather than the longed for. Sigh.

Old Ollie said...

I so dig how you can be gritty and beautiful. That is your charm.

Robert Gibson said...

Wow, it pulled me in from the first line ... and the last stanza was brilliant. Definitely a question many people ask....

Laurie Kolp said...

I like how you showed the inner battle (from one extreme to the other) we fight about the poems we write... you lying like driftwood and the longing demonstrted in the final stanza- amazing.

ellen abbott said...

good one

blogoratti said...

Liking this! Lovely imagination. Well done*

hedgewitch said...

You know how everything in this rings like a bell for me, so I'm just going to quote--yes, the horrible mindless quote-back, but sometimes I can't help myself--my favorite lines:
"..How is it that the waves always come this way,
Wearing stones down to sand,
And yet.../I remain as dry as driftwood,
Smooth and silly and flat on my back,
Waiting to be carved?"

and the end of course--that same old same old end. *pulls last hair out with tweezers*

Kerry O'Connor said...

That there should be two such questions for the vain goddess, these questions, with sea-foam answers...
The first is the eternal cry to be recognized and cherished by another and the last questions one's importance in an old love's heart - universal, and brutally sad.
Aren't women always wondering whether they are worth more than the fucking?

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh My Goddess, lovely beyond compare! Love the "little ashy bonfire of a girl", the self-worth that ebbs and flows at the whim of another (universal problem we women have) and most especially the plaintive question at the end: "why am I always the sunset.......why never the longed-for shore?" OMG. I SO know that feeling, and that wondering. Story of my life. Fantastic writing!

Marian said...

what a question to ask of someone who has her (beautiful) back turned and doesn't listen or care. great ocean sigh!

Semaphore said...

Definitely a telling conception of Aphrodite here, more attune to accessories than matters of the heart or head.

Hannah Pratt said...

Shay, this is brilliant. I can't think of anything better to say than what Kerry already has-- that every woman wonders if she isn't worth more than who she is on her back. Your words make me wonder... As if I am missing something...

Mama Zen said...

Well, that's a hair tearing ending! I used to have such pretty hair . . .

Daryl Edelstein said...

sunsets are embracing .. shores let life wash away

Brian Miller said...

really a fabulous close on the end of this shay...def evocative...appreciated

Lynn said...

Ohhh! That ending.

Lolamouse said...

In addition to what everyone else has already said, especially the last lines, I love how you call a goddess by a nickname! Most people would be struck dumb but you call her "Aph!" Love it!

Sara said...

Shay...Whoa. This one pierces the heart.

I hope you have a good weekend and may you be the "longed for shore" for someone special.

Anonymous said...

Everything you write just blows my mind! Your creativity, earthy, philosophical poetry is perfection.

Isadora Gruye said...

love love love. Especially use of ashy bonfire of a girl. I like how you also have your narrator calling the goddess Aph, the way it implies familiarity, perhaps because she reminds the narrator of the "you" sparsely mentioned.


"Why am I always the sunset, well-remembered, Aph?
And why never
The longed-for shore?"

Are mighty fine ending lines. Damn, you answered the dialogue challenge with such an astounding growl, I almost want to growl along instead of writing my own piece. I am poem jealous here, sunshine. Viva la

Kay L. Davies said...

"Why am I never the longed-for shore?" What a great, great question. I love it.

Jinksy said...

A conversation with no resolution...

Kateri said...

Beautiful and compelling. Love the line "a little ashy bonfire of a girl".

nene said...

Told you guys not to concern yourselves, Shay'd be back.

Like always Shay, wonderfully stimulating piece.

Anonymous said...

Not sure which I like to be least, "Why am I always the sunset, well-remembered, Aph?
And why never
The longed-for shore?" Love your weaving as always.

Anonymous said...

fuck! fuck! fuck!

don't you EVER have an off day?

brilliant! stunning ending! Aph would be jealous of you if she was a poet. {so of course this mere mortal is... not enough to actually HURT you or anything...}


Shawna said...

"A little ashy bonfire of a girl" Ha! So true, the contrasting ways in which we view ourselves, both as worthy and as crap.

"Smooth and silly and flat on my back, Waiting to be carved" ... Stop spying on me.