Guest poem submitted by Elko Tchernev:
(Poem #1851) The Discovery of the Pacific
They lean against the cooling car, backs pressed Upon the dusts of a brown continent, And watch the sun, now Westward of their West, Fall to the ocean. Where it led they went. Kansas to California. Day by day They travelled emptier of the things they knew. They improvised new habits on the way, But lost the occasions, and then lost them too. One night, no-one and nowhere, she had woken To resin-smell and to the firs' slight sound, And through their sleeping-bag had felt the broken Tight-knotted surfaces of the naked ground. Only his lean quiet body cupping hers Kept her from it, the extreme chill. By degrees She fell asleep. Around them in the firs The wind probed, tiding through forked estuaries. And now their skin is caked with road, the grime Merely reflecting sunlight as it fails. They leave their clothes among the rocks they climb, Blunt leaves of iceplant nuzzle at their soles. Now they stand chin-deep in the sway of ocean, Firm West, two stringy bodies face to face, And come, together, in the water's motion, The full caught pause of their embrace.
I'd like to bring to your attention my favorite Thom Gunn poem. I won't attempt "beating it with a hose to find out what it really means", as Billy Collins says in his "Introduction To Poetry" that appeared on Minstrels in October 2005. Rather, I'd ask all of you to enjoy it as well as you can, hopefully as much as I enjoyed it. Elko Tchernev.