Longing For Atlantis
Bumper to bumper, our ‘go home snowbird’ tees
drip sweat onto Juan’s white vinyl seats.
An hour after leaving her, Miami still rises high
behind us, a giant sooty postcard.
‘We’ve gotta blow this town,’ Juan says
for the hundredth time since passing
forty-six Bob’s Barricades, fourteen
road workers, two wrecks, and a pink-haired
lady pulled to the curb, snapping pics
of a jackknifed Sears truck.
The engine coughs, reminds me
of those dirty old men who hang out
at South Beach to watch the models
change clothes behind oversized towels.
One year we moved to a burg in Georgia,
but the Baptist preacher came over nightly
to pray for this half-crazy Anglo and Cuban
living in unwedded bliss smack dab
in the middle of their god-fearing town.
Later on, we tried Boston, lasting a year,
before Florida’s seductive sun again
sirened us back to rest pallid bodies
on white gritty sands until our bellies
were plump with coconut rum and tanned.
The tourists think South Florida is the Holy Land,
holder of the Holy Grail, Mecca of fake flamingos
and pink mansions lined with Mexican tile,
but I hear her creaks and moans in my dreams.
She longs—cries—to snap loose, cut free,
throw a party, taking the snowbirds, the tourists,
the nouveau riche, the Cubans, the models,
Bob’s Barricades, the Anglos, and the mansions
down past the reefs, to be remembered in future
history books only as the second missing Atlantis.
Poem © Pris Campbell 2004. All rights reserved.
Pris Campbell photographed 12 men naked men for a calendar in 1974. These days she just loves South Florida for the sunshine and the ocean, but not for the overcrowding, the traffic, the way wooded lots are cut down on a regular basis now to build townhouses and condos. She wasn’t able to read or write for years after she developed Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, but when she finally regained strength it was poetry she turned to, and it saved her life. She has awebsite and likes internet publications because they offer the opportunity to share poetry with friends and attract a larger readership. She wonders how many people buy, or even find, print poetry journals and believes that the internet is the way to “bring poetry back to the woman on the street.” Her poetry has appeared in Short Stuff, Blackmail Press, International War Vets Print Poetry Archives, MiPo Digital, Niederngasse, Peshekee River Poets, Verse Libre and Lotus Blooms.
Portrait of Pris Campbell © Henry Denander 2004. All rights reserved.
Published in the South Florida edition 2004