Poetry | from ‘Atlas’

Light at harbor entrance,
the shoreline of occasional rough breaks
where a gnomon casts a shadow
for the plane off Anacapa,
a hint of the season
visible in the pictures,
vessels of increasing draft.

That land plants descend 
from water, the black earth 
of hearths, of rocks with their
very lives against the sea.


Next you need to pay attention to the conditions
how we are complicit

imprimatur: okeh let’s move there)
breakwater or jetty wall  kelp often grows on both
to the coast and to simply carry on

with disinvestment as a discriminatory get outdoors 
and live the allegedly decaying state of their neighbor-
hoods. Ocean and Lime of pre-stressed concrete was the
tallest

and Lime was the devil-strip row of palms

how we are ignorant

of the waves
and the territories-in-between.


About the light seen through fruit trees grown dark 
with rain, through pulp on the broken soil this wind

broadcast in the extremities. Salt carries in storms, 
anchors offshore rust from ring to flukes, strongest 

of the natural fibers the light of stanchion or shroud:
the body of our landscape marked in chalk or fog.

Billboards: beer bars abut bungalows with verandas 
of stone and green coil, with foundation and facade.

Note the white sidewalk barren and wished upon, 
thrust in pockets, not even trim lawns as quiet this

ghost day. Breakwater lined on maps in the flattened 
harbor, calm ripples across this soft desert coast  

while the ocean swells levees, wraps shallow basins 
in dark brine, in the countenance of our craft.


Glenn Bach is a poet, sound artist, and educator who lives and works in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. His major project, Atlas, is a long poem that documents his reflections on place, landscape, and our understanding of the world. It has been excerpted in small journals such as jubilat, Otoliths, and Plumwood Mountain. The first book of the poem, Atlas 1, is available here.

Website: glennbach.com
Twitter: @AtlasCorpus

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