Monday, October 17, 2011

Diving In

Cliff Jumping In Broad Daylight
Warming Up For Diving Into Starry Waters

In my youth I was a swimmer and a diver off the meter board (and lower). I had the jack knife, the swan, the flip, the back dive, and the half gainer. I almost had the back flip and the full gainer. I was licensed as a life guard in my Junior year in high school and had a couple jobs, where I revealed that I was not very good at that age at holding jobs or being a life guard either. However, no one died or even came close. It's just that pool maintenance is part of life guarding and so is maintenance of the dressing rooms. I haven't been swimming in decades.

I learned the gainers at the Hotel Intercontinental pool in Dacca, East Pakistan. It was outside the hotel in the portal after swimming with my girlfriend Carmen that she and I became accidental walk ons in a Bengali movie, an escape scene featuring a young man in rags and outlandish makeup. It was clear he had been in places in the script that he had to be to further the plot but no man should have been. It was also clear he thought he was being chased. We hammed it up. A few months later some Bengali friends claimed they saw us on screen so we made it in. That was the only time I have ever knowingly been in a movie, a B-movie made in Bengal.

Diving In

As you dance on by
I shall grab hold and dance too.
Your eyes spark with mine
as I take up your
song, begin to howl like youth,
howl in the pale light
of this moonlit night,
this just before we both dive
in, slick, shiny forms,
into the starry
waters that have spread across
the waiting valley.

January 3, 2010   9:31 AM


  1. Gosh, I didn't know you had Dutch roots!! You are so right about 'wal' meaning wall. In fact, Wall Street got its name from the Dutch as well, as they were the first to organise the beurs, the trading by the then sea wall there. With that said, I believe I could recommend you a read that you'd really enjoy: 'The Coffee Trader', an historical novel by David Liss, which is set in early Amsterdam. I loved the read, myself. One of my favourite books!

  2. My Dutch is all on my mother's side, her father. My grandmother was English. My grandmother and grandfather did some performing in burlesque before settling down. I am not sure but I think he was her agent. Pa was a draftsman for the city of LA at one point and in the Alaska gold rush at another. He had been in line for a military career in the Dutch military when a swimming accident took his hearing.

    My mother traveled to Europe after the war and looked up our relatives who had been decimated (the Jewish side) in the war. To his dying day my grandfather resented Catholics and that may have been about the war and what happened to his family.

    I read the Coffee Trader a few years back. I liked the book too. There is another, I forget the title and author but a fourth of the book is about the tulip industry in Holland. Wonderful.

  3. 'howl with youth', I'd never have thought of that.

    I like it here, your blog is interesting.

  4. Friko, that's a boy thing and one of the differences between men and women perhaps. It is second nature for men to howl to and from the juices of youth.

  5. Well by now you know me...and the dancin' thing. Holy hell. Ghosts are raised and living things slayed when I get down to it. I do believe I howl and the spark from my eyes catches the bonfire of every yesterday on fire.

  6. Enjoyed the moment of youth, and the poem. I wonder if the diving in just changes form when we get old?

  7. Lord! I hope so. There is no way I would try any of those water entries today. I haven't even been in the water in I don't know how long.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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