This place is almost larger suddenly
than I can get to. My senses fuse,
clearing Coney Island piece by piece
like a sharp stick this noontide.
And so there is the glare against the sky,
the sheen water smears on the beach;
the line from pier to boardwalk, fishing-lines
to come-ons signs and barkers cast-
the give and take of please and long hopes.
There are the greys and rusts of weather
in everything-shoulders like stones, sand
like the seethe of antique boneworks.
There is the fish and salt stench of the sea,
its exhausted measures, sweats
starting out on pleasure’s breathless engines,
the gases of brutal foods in joints.
There are the mouths that can’t close, stuck
by sunbeams, inhaling one another,
wailing and hilarious in the earthworks.
There is how all these fuse like ghosts,
separate from me, until it seems
the outside objects wholly are,
the insides all that lives are after all,
touch each other like fools in love,
and I look up to take in suddenly
the creak and flare of gulls in stillness
and call them angels, start this music up
to hold the world in from falling down.
“The Body of Coney Island” by American poet, Mark McCloskey, was originally published in the Fall 1975, Vol. 19 issue of The Literary Review