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Two poems by Sydney Brown

“The Wilder Shores of Love” and “The Balanced”

the wilder shores of love

  • cannot sustain life,
  • so love is only
  • an abstraction
  • feral ghosts carve
  • in the hard sand.
  • the coconut’s
  • endosperm
  • is inedible,
  • too salty, its meat
  • without sweet.
  • syringes and bottles
  • couple on the rocks.
  • the beaches
  • are not walked.
  • bodies wash up
  • on the shore
  • when the moon
  • overwhelms the sky
  • bloodied with stars
  • full of wish-holes.
  • the sea, still
  • in the distance,
  • looks like a graveyard
  • littered with fast
  • food wrappers,
  • plastic flowers
  • and stardust.
  • and “wilder” is a lie.
  • little spent
  • waves sigh
  • and sigh
  • while colorless pebbles,
  • shells and motel keys
  • careen and pool,
  • and the tide
  • yawns
  • every 12.5 hours.

the balanced

  • don’t crack to Peggy Lee or crave surface noise
  • on vinyl — the electric pop off a dead voice.
  • they are taught at the kitchen table to write thank you notes
  • and wait to spread their legs (their wombs are not ambivalent).
  • they may leave whomever they love and drive for hours,
  • but they return home with a dozen eggs.

Sydney Brown is the Creative Writing Program co-coordinator at Grossmont College in El Cajon, where she teaches poetry, literature, and composition, as well as directs the annual Literary Arts Festival, now in its 20th year. Her writing has appeared in Sonoma Review; Southern Anthology; Sunshine/Noir: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana; and other publications. She lives in La Mesa with her husband and two schnauzers.

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the wilder shores of love

  • cannot sustain life,
  • so love is only
  • an abstraction
  • feral ghosts carve
  • in the hard sand.
  • the coconut’s
  • endosperm
  • is inedible,
  • too salty, its meat
  • without sweet.
  • syringes and bottles
  • couple on the rocks.
  • the beaches
  • are not walked.
  • bodies wash up
  • on the shore
  • when the moon
  • overwhelms the sky
  • bloodied with stars
  • full of wish-holes.
  • the sea, still
  • in the distance,
  • looks like a graveyard
  • littered with fast
  • food wrappers,
  • plastic flowers
  • and stardust.
  • and “wilder” is a lie.
  • little spent
  • waves sigh
  • and sigh
  • while colorless pebbles,
  • shells and motel keys
  • careen and pool,
  • and the tide
  • yawns
  • every 12.5 hours.

the balanced

  • don’t crack to Peggy Lee or crave surface noise
  • on vinyl — the electric pop off a dead voice.
  • they are taught at the kitchen table to write thank you notes
  • and wait to spread their legs (their wombs are not ambivalent).
  • they may leave whomever they love and drive for hours,
  • but they return home with a dozen eggs.

Sydney Brown is the Creative Writing Program co-coordinator at Grossmont College in El Cajon, where she teaches poetry, literature, and composition, as well as directs the annual Literary Arts Festival, now in its 20th year. Her writing has appeared in Sonoma Review; Southern Anthology; Sunshine/Noir: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana; and other publications. She lives in La Mesa with her husband and two schnauzers.

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