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[Poetry] Two Poems by Stephen Braile


Of the plunging surf breaking

off the Pier Avenue shoreline,

in this part of the beach,

there is a severe undertow present.

Tourist come for the 18-miles

of coastline, and 12,00 acres

with swamps, salt marshes, mudflats,

of Central Coast sand dunes,

fresh-water marshes; for off-roading,

camping, and surf-fishing

at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.

Starting in the 1920’s, until the war,

mystics, nudists, artists, writers,

and hermits inhabited the Sand Dunes,

near Pismo Beach, five miles south,

for sunshine, peace, and solitude.

Calling themselves the “Duneites,”

Like Chumash Natives who lived there,

they too would be driven away

by the contrivances of modern life.

Twelve noon on Fridays it begins,

the mass visitor migration

of gasoline-powered conveyances

by the hundreds converging

on one of the few places that allow

vehicles to drive on the beach.

Pick-up trucks, four-wheel drive

of every variety, towing trailers

hauling off-road autos, sand-dragster,

dune buggies, jeeps, and recreational

vehicles for traversing the sand.

Five dollars a car for a day-use pass,

payable at the park office on Pier Avenue.

Maximum trailer length is 31 feet.

Dry moving sand at the high-tide line,

blown inland by frequent west winds

transport the sand and dust,

the components of dust pollution.

Off-highway vehicle activity make it worse.

A deaf-mute lives on the beach

In a small house behind a wooden fence

on Pier Avenue, owns a tow-truck,

Drives up and down the beach and dunes

Pulling out vehicles stuck in the sand.

Twenty-five dollars a tow, and no argument.

By the hundreds, they come and go,

slogging off in both directions

on sand-covered Pier Avenue.

At five o’clock on Sunday afternoons,

a reverse migration begins,

and all of the tourists and all the visitors

pass by the offices of the state park

on Pier Avenue, as all the off-highway vehicles

return back to where they came from.


At the Pismo Beach pier, on a telephone pole A poster is stapled to it: Surf Bands at the Rose Garden, Friday night: The King of Surf-Guitar, Dick Dale & The Del-tones---Live Admission $1. Doors open at 8. The overcast night sky glows pink From the neon-signs on Pomeroy Street Of the motels and motor courts. The Rose Garden folds inward at the entrance, Next door to the bowling-alley Surf Bowl. The dim and speckled dance-floor, A stage with colored-lights at the far end. Surfers and surfer-chicks, shimmy, and shake To Dick Dale’s piercing electric-guitar, Surf the dark invisible waters on waves of musical ecstasy. Outside, waves break on the pilings, Crash with the same force as the music.

Stephen Barile is a Fresno, California native, educated in the public schools, and attended Fresno City College, Fresno Pacific University, and California State University, Fresno. He was a long-time member of the Fresno Poet's Association. Stephen Barile taught writing at Madera Center College, and CSUF, and lives in Fresno. His poems have been published extensively, including Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, The Heartland Review, Instant Noodle, and London Grip.

Photo Credit: Max Fm 95.8 Maximum Music


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