The Far West

The city and the continent
trail off into cold black
water the same way: at
the western edge, a flat
stretch with precipitous
planes set perpendicular
and back from the beach
or beach-equivalent, a blacktop
margin where the drugged
and dying trudge, queue up
for Hades. Bolinas
had its junkie lady with gray
skin, gray sweater, stumbling
through the sand with the short-
burst intensity and long-run aimlessness
of crackhead hustlers on the West Street piers.
Dreams of Bolinas haunted me for years
before I saw it. I’ d huddle
at the foot of the cliff in a cold
wind late at night, wrapped
in Indian blankets, waiting
with strangers as the tidal wave
or temblor hit. Tonight I walk
with old friends in a new dream
past a vest-pocket park of great
formality and charm in the far
West Village. My disaffected
former confidant has grown
a pony tail and cruises up
the street on a “hog,” a “chopper,”
which seems a perfect locomotive choice.
I walk out to the quay where gondola
after enormous gondola departs
for “the other side,” not New Jersey
anymore, anymore than something
prosaic as another mass of land
past the bright horizon
could function as a mirror
of the chopped-away Bolinas hill.
O western edge, where points
of interest on maps of individual
hearts and bodies disappear
in waters of a depth unfathomable
even in a dream, I had thought
that sleep was meant to blunt
your sharpness, not to hone
and polish with the lapping
of the hungry waves of Lethe.