Three Poems from the Gulf of Mexico

The moon over the gulf hours before the Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse on Sunday, May 15

by Joe Nolan

Last week I took a road trip that started in Nashville, crossed two state lines, and ended with me soaking in the salty surf of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a trip my wife and I have made many times to the exact same beach, but we haven’t retraced that path in the last two years during the worst of the pandemic. I can’t think of a healthier place to be than an off-season Florida beach, soaking in salt water, while being blasted by the sun and drenched in vitamin D. Some fine body surfing was had, a fireworks display for a pirate named Billy Bowlegs came out of nowhere, and the spectacle of  a lunar eclipse above the gulf made the trip even more magical. I never take a phone into all that sand and water. Instead I tried to distill afternoons at the beach into verses that captured the thrill of catching waves, the insane beauty of the surf, the fish we befriended and more.

 

“Nemo Tequila”

Nemo Tequila,
the melancholy
clownfish,
lives in an emerald
waterpalace
in the Gulf
of Mexico.
And Captain Nemo’s
Nautilus is
fast and
bulbous.
Hold it up to your
ear — it sounds like
Glenn Campbell singing
“Galveston.”
And Finding Nemo
got lost in an
animated ocean.
And Little Nemo’s
Slumberland comes with
two hushpuppies and
addacuppagumbo for
$3.99

 

“Bodysurfing”

Bodysurfing
was the first
real life
surfing.
And we ride waves
in jet-bubble
rushes of
fish and foam.
Emerald.
Turquois.
Forest.
Violet.
Cornflower.
All the colors
crash
into white.
And we are ancient
in the morning
between the sun and
the surf.

 

“May 13, 2022”

A moon massage
in the emerald
shallows.
I swallow salt
water and
sunshine
under the sign of
Taurus
in the Gulf
of Mexico.
Two years and
two state lines to
find this
black
water
jewel.