Fall 2008, Volume 5

Poetry by Megan M. Doherty

Noon at Summerland Beach

                              she stumbles
twice thus far
      damned sandals
on the tracks      slick rail ties
      between her toes      pebbles
should have planned ahead      damn, damn
      the queen's english
            eludes her
      children, marriage, house
looks acidulously      for the spot
get the thing done right      in an instant
      her figure      too
                        shot to hell
is far enough
      from l.a.            near santa barbara
            a good choice that, but
tennis shoes would have helped
      in any event, soon
            she'll find the site
will trust her      intuition
      knows men do it macho, a gun
      from a bridge, a tall building
      a single bound, so to speak

during the '60s
in the hollywood hills studio
while washing up
the lights flickered
a total blackout
lasted over an hour
came to find out
some guy jumped
from the holiday inn roof
nothing thought out
royally stupid
hit the electric      wire
on his way down
severed off a leg
and spoiled her dinner
      women usually are smarter
      they go out easier
      mostly pills      sensible

when her avion gives out
      she's certain
walks to the cliff's edge
      overlooking the sands
this is it
      the place
stands      forever it seems
      the ocean's roar
      muffles her objections
now for the courage
      a final action, just one
time passes
she thinks of him
      if only
            if only...
her eye registers movement
      far below
a small figure      a man
a wheelchair
inching across the rough beach
she watches transfixed
      he does not stop to rest
disappears eventually
      beyond the bend
            of the coastal plane
what on earth!
      she climbs down
      can't believe she's doing this
to the sands
follows his path
      around the bend
an alcove      another beach
      hundreds of nudists
kids and all
      playing volleyball
      a picnic
welcome her warmly
saw the crippled man now
      nude as a babe
she feels odd to be clothed
      amidst so much flesh
stepped into a vortex
      is offered a lemonade
      a towel
then      she sees the golden man
      spread eagle on a chair
      tanned genitals      lovely
smiling openly
to her

BIO:  Megan Doherty, a peace activist, has been published by the California Quarterly. She attends poetry groups and has recently completed two books of poetry which are, as yet, unpublished. As a member of Tebot Bach's Poetry and Healing Committee, she brings creative writing workshops to homeless shelters in Southern California.