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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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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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