I was poking around on the computer at my mother’s house when I noticed a file with my name on it. At first I didn’t know what it was, but when I opened it, remembered it immediately. The top of it said Belle Isle, 1949. That’s the name of a poem I did an explication on one of the 428 times I went back to school. I remembered the poem well, and smiled when I looked back at my analysis of it. I had done a good job because I liked the subject. The poem was a coming-of-age, carpe` diem themed piece about a high schooler who skinny-dipped with a foreign stranger on a hot summer night in the late 40s.
This poem in particular stuck out to me because it highlighted the uncooked human soul at it’s finest. It is my favorite kind of tale. It is the kind where two ships pass in the night, yet it makes all the difference in years to come. It was about a memory, a raw memory…the kind I love writing about.
Two teenagers, from different cultures, who spoke different languages somehow communicated through hyper-sensitive teenage pheromones to come to an agreement that they would seize the moment, get naked, and just maybe have a night neither of them would be able to forget. They wouldn’t exchange names or numbers…after all how could they? They would only hang onto the burning rope that was the summer night, then go their separate ways. I recall the poem was written without punctuation or end-stopped sentences. Overflowing with enjambment, I could feel the rushed, passionate pace, and my heart quickened a little. I could feel the energy between these kids. They are soul mates for a moment, the kind of soul mates we all find floating about us once in a blue moon before the real lifetime kind show up, and it’s enough. Their flesh was enough, their humanism was enough, and their circumstance was enough.
We’ve all had a Belle Isle sometime…that place where we let our nature take over, before the adolescence wore off, and age and time told us to change. There’s some place in the corner of our minds where the nonsense still exists, and still calls me to write about it. I love learning about what makes us thrive in that way we do when we’re naive, because that’s who we really are. I love to strip away the bullshit and just look at bare naked nature. That’s where that juice that tastes so sweet to a writer’s tongue lives. That’s the place that doesn’t know language, though I try to use language to describe it. It’s the place where a warm body made of flesh and bones simply wants another just like it nearby. It isn’t about forever, or the other things that have to be present for a lifetime mate. This is that in between place when we first know we have a pulse, and it pulses for someone else, leading us to them. Here is to gravity. Here is to nature. Here is to Belle Isle.