Friday, August 29, 2014

Catching the Next Wave

—Poems and Photos by Jennifer Lagier, Marina, CA


He’s a cocky bastard, full of himself,
arrogantly perched on a curved cypress limb,
his flustered, forgotten harem diving for cover
among sage, beach geranium, coast chaparral.

On nearby road, ungracefully aging males
gun red Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Ferraris
troll for trophy wife arm-candy
among anorexic, blonde joggers.

Assets and power jockey for dominance
in pheromone-saturated air.
It’s an alpha parade, puffed up fowl,
preening men beside turgid bay.


Morning light stratifies.
Gradient fog layers settle
like latte across the horizon.
Above snarled aloe, a near-silent trawler
drags gill nets through kelp beds
seeking shoals of anchovies.

On the path, a cigarette smoker points
his zoom lens toward distant rock piles,
boat wake, unraveling spindrift.
Announces, “Whales!”
his voice filled with reverence.

I strain to see spouts, fins,
some hint of cetacean migration.
Spot only geriatric sea lions
grumbling from stone thrones,
one more bristling otter.
Wonder why miracles unfold
at times I’m not watching.


The seagull is
easy to identify—
one remaining leg,
returns yearly,
seeks handouts
at Carmel River Lagoon.

My friend is the one
who named her Eileen.
Brings her treats.
Tosses morning offerings
to be caught in mid-flight.

She talks to birds and animals
we tease as Betty walks
along the ocean,
dispenses breakfast to
half-tame jays and gulls
who flock in her wake.


Dolphins somersault offshore,
fins slicing spindrift, teal surf.
Pelicans strafe bare stone,
glide above floating kelp,
skim pulsing breakers.

Off the tip of Point Lobos,
a trawler tows his gill net,
seines shoals of anchovies.
Morning sun lasers against
wheelhouse windows.

Salty boulders, stiff beach grass,
frame dun bluff, turquoise cove.
White gulls punctuate rigging,
rising waves, riptide water,
wash ashore poetry hiding inside me.


Turquoise surf oozes ashore,
creams against curved beach,
turgid river’s gold sands.

Salt mist slides across headlands,
hovers over canyons, pulled
inland by intense valley heat.

Sun-burnt sea grass withers.
Fog hangs aloft, fails to quench,
amasses in useless lavender heaps.

Summer cypress lift ragged limbs,
implore empty sky to bring fertile clouds,
needed moisture, overdue rain.


Chill wind explodes spent roses,
scatters gold pollen, petal confetti.

Flings pale mourning doves from
flailing elm leaves, protective branches.

Morning gusts disperse dismembered
fog chunks across mounded dunes.

Propels paddle boarders, strings of geese.
Strips frothy spindrift off pulsing surf.

Boosts the red tail hawk over cypress where
he stalls in a dead spot, circles and keens.

Hang gliders catch an updraft, coast silently
upon thermal currents above pristine sand.


A dirt path meanders along white beach,
coastal chaparral, curls between wind-sculpted cypress.

Dog walkers, morning regulars, sip streaming coffee,
dispense milk bone treats, greet one another.

Otters and dolphins offer an impromptu aquacade
augmented by occasional whale breach.

A white egret silently frisks among tangles of kelp.
Eileen, the one-legged sea gull, screams to be fed.

Painters erect easels, daub pastels onto canvas.
Surfers slide into wet-suits, grab boards, catch the next wave.


Decomposed granite trail meanders
along coastal bluff, segues into boardwalk.

Sere meadow blurs against
misty forest, foggy shore.

Vague hills merge with smoky horizon.
Fences, rooflines are soft, indistinct.

Ambiguous deer paths bisect poison oak,
golden meadows, cobwebbed thickets.

Spent lupine, fading poppies
deconstruct to ephemeral ash.

Last gasp of summer cycles toward fall.
Wild radish crumbles, passes away.

 —Jennifer, 2012

Our thanks and welcome to the Kitchen to Jennifer Lagier today! Jennifer has published nine books of poetry as well as appearing in a variety of literary magazines. Her latest book, Camille Vérité, was just published by FutureCycle Press. She taught with California Poets in the Schools and is now a retired college librarian/instructor, member of the Italian American Writers Association, co-edits the Homestead Review and Monterey Poetry Review, and helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Visit her website at


Today's LittleNip:



Jen in her what-the-hell hat