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The Vagabond Press issued a new edition of Lives, Lucas Hunt's first collection of poetry, in the winter of 2012. The original edition was published in 2006, and sold out. Lives is a rich aesthetic experience, full of humor, heart, and spirit. It reflects a world in which action is directly responsible for earthly fortunes, and where people laugh even as they struggle to find happiness. Lives is about how ordinary and profound things work together, and how our dreams conflict with despair and death. It is a celebration of human passion, and the desire to say something true.

What the Sea Stole

 

 

Hold tide, hold your copious motions for a minute

While I replay this summer tragedy for

All to seize the danger inherent—

Days begin alike until something changes.

 

Families gather for weekend picnics on the beach,

      friends to sunbathe and swim,

The wind picks up and settles down as children

      run rampant on the sand,

People like to party their days off,

Water makes life bearable for local and tourist

Where land leaves them disappointed.

 

It is freedom they seek, those surfers who brave

      sharks and squalls to ride,

Who mount the equine wavery, harness wild

      fluid power on boards

And heel the breaking thrust of gravity.

 

Others enjoy the calm solitude of long walks

      on sunlit shores,

They envision a gilded ocean surface

And soak in dreamy leisure, entranced by gulls

That float so guilelessly above the human crowd,

      ready to dip down for handouts

Or invade empty blankets, screaming with laughter.

 

Young women wear the least amount of clothes,

Their diminutive suits cover, to great effect,

      burgeoning spheres,

It is hard not to look or look away,

Nature construes to keep eyes glued on beauty,

 

Whether lust or fascination with female pleasures,

The loveliness of grown up girls is paramount,

      it puts life in a peaceful bed

Rather than at war and dead.

 

The aged have their wrinkles and one day I will too,

They sit content in lawn chairs under the sun

      watching grandchildren,

Although what we hide matters most,

Personality takes the pageant, fine character,

A sort of soul inside the body better represents it.

 

Pretend a man has the freedom to choose a mate

      and could be honest,

Does he fasten to one who awes his eye the most,

And will the same own his heart?

Love is irrational jewelry we cling to without logic.

 

Back to the romance of our coastal scene,

Couples lay quiet, sometimes talk, genuinely serene,

A volleyball game starts, radios echo off umbrellas,

The salty odor of ocean pervades the fresh air

As several people stare at the bright water

      with curious faces,

Shielding their eyes with their hands.

 

Someone calls to two young boys gone out too far

      from shore, they are brothers

And best friends, more, have drifted apart.

 

The louder, more urgent, second call,

A lone surfer grabs his board, sprints to the water

      and swims with speed,

He has to reach the two young boys.

 

The third call is a cry, ‘somebody help them, hurry,’

A terrible anxiety seizes the beach,

Only one conversation takes place, some rush

      to phone for help

As others wade out to discover

Too great a distance, too turbulent a sea.

 

A cruel tide tears the brothers apart, one slips away

From the other and drifts farther out.

 

That fourth call, who made it, boats and helicopters

      are on the way,

The lone surfer closes in on the nearest boy,

He cannot see the other, can only hear

‘Where’s he, where’s my brother?’

 

All life is in peril when the surfer paddles

Back to shore with what little strength he has left

And the boy he has saved cries loud and louder.

 

Grown men and women, fathers and mothers themselves,

      now openly weep, hysteria overcomes,

They have witnessed some of the worst in their lives

But this is too much, only the beginning,

When the surfer returns, exhausted and heroic,

      with a boy none can silence,

Not now nor ever, to the wave-broken beach,

He just screams inconsolably, ‘my brother’s dead!’

 

It is true, no humor can make it false,

That too young boys once went for a swim

And even after extensive search, only one survived.