A journal of narrative writing.
Four Coasts

Listen to “Four Coasts”
read by Mark Cox

Just now, I have been reading a poem by Morton Marcus, who is dead, as he writes about reading the poems of George Seferis, who was then, and is still, dead also. I write this in hope that, in its reading, you will understand something of the gift I have been given, here, in winter, the space heater, like the nightlights of my childhood, aglow on my lower legs, even these swollen ankles not aching for once— that here in the comfort, and something near to peace, of this very early North Carolina morning, I am alive to carry their names forward, in some small way, to say I am here because they were here before me. All along the Atlantic coast, there are immense warehouses, stacks of cargo containers in freight depots, filled with unopened boxes of priceless goods, sidetracked, mismarked, forgotten and idle. One pays one’s homage. You either keep going or you don’t. Seferis,  Marcus says, became history himself walking the ruins of the ancients. Though, I have met George, also, and I know there were many kisses between wars. As for Morton, I met his widow once, to whom I vowed to teach her husband’s poems for as long as I was alive. This, I think, is all poets do. We try to keep our promises, to be here when you open the hold and turn the page. And it does not matter, reader, if none of the three of us is alive now, that even I am vanishing, even if I am just a few states away, writing before dawn, with my old legs elevated and a journal still in my lap. It is the moment worth naming I hope to have left you. The one that made me cock my head and hear Greek fishermen in the fog, laughing, cursing the exasperating  slow journey  home to their  women, especially being just off California, as they  are, which anyone  can tell, even as far away as here.