the beach boys

only the young are at the beach.
I have a good body for my age
little bull neck and chest
and powerful legs.
but my back is badly scarred
from a former malady.
I feel some shame for my deformities
and I would not be there
only my woman insists
and if she has the courage to be there
with me
then I must have the courage to go
with that.

but I wonder where the old and the crippled
and the ugly are?
shouldn’t the beaches be theirs too?
where are the one-legged people?
the armless?

I watch the young boys on their surfboards
slim bodies gliding.

some of them will end in madhouses
some of them will gain 40 pounds
some of them will suicide.

most of them will stop coming to the
beach.

and there is the sun and there is the sand
and the young boys zoom down palisades of water
and the young girls watch them.

they are thoughtless and pleased.

I stretch out
turn on my stomach
and they are
gone.