The surfers beautiful as men
ride the warm
and the white sand is alive with girls.
Outriggers (double boats) ride the waves back in
as the native warriors did.
I tried to swim and tried to look,
but ended up just going back:
a huge, perfect black
man at the beach
somehow drove me away a block
to St. Augustine’s Church.
The bodies were giv-
ing me a fit
and I have come to seek the momentary calm
we find sometimes in the musk of Christ
(when he was awake
as others slept,
or like a furious bouncer
hustling out the money changers).
The bodies of Mary and Christ
both still live, we’re told. They’re alive
must have dealt with the stress
of that long time
of turning on
to being young.
I speak of teens.
Fifteen and ten
years ago when I first confessed,
it was in this same church built then
as a gigantic shed
where the strange Hawaiian birds
(I forgot their names—no matter)
flew in and out of the high wood-
like the whimsical winds of grace,
and grace gives back to sight
what beauty is—
that loveliness at the beach.
Now the church
has been rebuilt
in pointed stone across the street
from a much
higher new hotel
where at lunch
I almost spilled
and found I could not eat
the purple orchid in my drink.
John Logan, “Middle-Aged Midwesterner at Waikiki Again” from John Logan: The Collected Poems. Copyright © 1989 by The Estate of John Logan. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.
Source: John Logan: The Collected Poems
(BOA Editions Ltd., 1989)
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