Brief Kodak Moment

For Crystal

(Written Mardi Gras season, 2002, gonzo style in ten minutes sitting on the ground in a parking lot while the Stock Family & friends packed the cars to leave the beach)

Moon full
and full of afternoon glow
in a light blue sky
Chris standing watch
ever the inspector
whilst young brother Jules
untangles fishing lines
and little Gabrielle fondles bright green
worms from the tackle box.

Claudia with her bright burgundy
boing-boing hair tied up over each ear
Crystal in the front seat ready to go
yelling “Honey! Honey!”
and Ilene speaking to Gabrielle in French
whilst the tall beautiful tanned guy carries
two ice-filled coolers back to the cars
and it’s the late light of Sunday
my first visit to the southern barrier islands
of Louisiana
and baby Devon’s first beach trip ever.

The gulls screech
and far off a chopper chops
and all these named houses high on stilts
trailer homes even, surrounded by marshlands
and the dolphins play
and I swim close and hear their breathing in the sea
the Gulf, Mexico far beyond across the water
and my lips smell of sun lotion and sea salt
and the gnats swarm, impossible
and the Stock brothers
sons of the beat man, the word man
Jules the lithe and muscular
cigarette ever-dangling from half-smile
like Andy Capp or James Dean
sunglasses black
baseball hat
and that mad crocodile troll throat
eking out words like wind through a skull.

Brother Chris so mellow
so impervious to the chaotic chorus
seemingly a constant around him
and Gabrielle sits down beside me
with her bag of baby carrots
and asks, “What are you writing?”

“Cajun crawfish boiled,” I say
reading a sign
and that blinding sun
paints the calm bayou waters
and the car’s smudged windshield
and my scratched glasses making
all of life zoom by flickering
like an old 8mm color reel
a real trip back in time
as we motor straight forward
across the flattest earth
smack into the sinking sun.

The Tobacco Plus Gas Station mini-mart
sign says “We now have daiquiris”
but inside the manager explains that yes
they have them but not yet the license to sell them
thirsty, we deflate and move on toward New Orleans
and the bars we know
but then a few miles up the road..

Frozen daiquiris all around now
and it’s Mardi Gras mambo
rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie-woogie blues
blaring through as we cruise the
homeward road singing Cajun praises
to Gabrielle’s green sun
and the Lord above
and whatever Mister dun
invented music
and sweet, sweet rum.

From “Boxed Wine & Pavement”
© Rick McKinney 2002

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