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,
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
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.