take the coast in small denominations.
POP, a tropical island themed park
where at the end, in a semblance of volcano,
we'd ride small train cars out over the water,
has washed away, its wreckage clearly rendered
in the surfing scenes of Lords of Dogtown.
The pier at Santa Monica, more stable
perhaps, or calling for a deeper investment
for its boat moors, has since gone all touristical.
No more is it just a place to catch fish
with carny stalls and a famous carrousel.
At one time I would find the hidden niches
to cast my line from, pulling up small bass
and a few other fry, but I was no fisherman,
and never stomached gutting as well as I could.
At pier's end the boats unloaded their catch,
freight carts of fish kept chilled with blocks of ice,
on second-layer levels by the boat house.
Below the pier, amongst the staggered pylons,
druggies and queers rendezvoused. But what did I know
then of this? The few times fishing, the thousand walks
along the pier to its facing toward the water
then back, brings back to mind I all I remember
of life along the ancient palisade,
the disappearing city of my youth.
Beside the California Avenue incline
the ruins of an old hotel, ornamented
in grand Egyptian frippery, had left
only the imprint of its swimming pool,
a large terra cotta colored basin
filled with the glyphs of Isis and Osiris,
and home to rubble and old shopping carts
pushed from the cliffs above in delinquent joy.
As Jeffers says, in the few thousand years
that sees the decimation of all cities
perhaps a few cascades of stone will linger,
signs of the more important monuments
of homo fiduciarius. But still
will stay the overall layout of the coast,
the eating ocean, solid in its ambivalence,
forever taking and depositing,
and rendering the rhythms of the coast
in the continuous music of its washing
as wave hits shore and pylon, carrying all
with its incessant beat: wave, wave, wave, wave.