Poem by Derek Adams (UK)
Published in The Ofi Press Issue
West Quoddy Head, Lubec, Maine
Candy striped, the red/white shape of a lighthouse
is a slightly raised weal
against the solid blue-sky background
on the punched lid of a cookie tin, that lies
before me on a table in the window of Annabell’s Pub.
The scene is repeated on a postcard
with the legend ‘West Quoddy Head,
Easternmost point in the U.S.’
I flip the card over, swig on a Bud,
write ‘At this point
nothing separates us but water’
I do not mention:
how standing there
the cool breath of an entire continent
rode the hairs on the back of my neck,
that the red and white stripes
reminded me of your scallop neck T shirt,
the one with capped sleeves from Top Shop,
that made you look as if you were
about to perform the French apache dance.
Or how the vast Atlantic
with its black abyss,
up and down moods,
currents and under-currents,
disappears into amphibious fog
that sits on the sea and land for days.
That the locals say ‘All the fog in the world
is manufactured in the Bay of Funday’,
or how the monotonous fog-horn cries
relentless as a toddler.
That the street outside this window
resembles a scene from that John Carpenter movie
and I am waiting for buccaneer ghosts to appear,
or one of H. P. Lovecraft’s creatures to slither past,
its ancient tentacles reaching out
to pierce my chest and crush my heart.
That already some nameless forgotten thing,
right out of Stephen King’s novel imaginings,
that walks between the shadows
of the Douglas fir and the spruce,
has taken possession of my dreams:
where I still see your drained face,
red rimmed eyes, the blue circles
from fingers and thumbs on your pale skin.
I order another Bud, sign off with the habitual ‘love you’
add in brackets ‘your Maine man – ha ha!’:
slip card and tin into
a red, white and blue pre-paid envelope
which I will drop in the mailbox tomorrow,
when hopefully the fog will begin to clear.
Derek Adams’ chapbook, Postcards to Olympus, won the Poetry Monthly Booklet Award 2004 and was named "Best Individual Collection Of Poetry For 2005" in Purple Patch Magazine's annual Best of the Small Press list; a collection Everyday Objects, Chance Remarks was published by the Littoral Press and unconcerned but not indifferent - the life of man ray came out from Ninth Arrondissement Press, soon after. He was the BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year in 2006.