The Sunday Poem: Holly Wilson . . . Caribbean Winter Beach

Caribbean Winter Beach


Plantains don’t peel right here,
The skin doesn’t just slip off
With a casual insertion of
The finger between the meat and peel,
So my tostones look a little funny

Plantains never ripen right here either
To where they turn a deep yellow
And fry up soft and sticky sweet
As maduros

I crave pineapples, mangos, papayas,
Bananas of all colors, shapes, and sizes,

Deliciously tart tamarindo,
And oh, oh, oh for some real mamey!

Here in this high desert winter land
Where snow falls
And trees who have lost their leaves
Hunker down silently waiting for spring

Outside most of the green is gone
And you have to wrap up tight when
You go out against wind, and cold, and darkness

But on some days in early afternoon
The sun overcomes the cold just right
So I can stand out in the backyard
And feel its warmth penetrate my body

On these days I have to catch it fast
When I find it:
The radiant heat of the sweat of palm trees
Swaying in the sun along the beach,
Providing us refuge as we emerge from
Warm, salty water
Into the glare of white sand

We lay under the palm trees
Eating pineapples and mangos and papayas,
Bananas of all colors, shapes, and sizes,
Sipping deliciously tart tamarindo
Scooping the salmon colored custardlike flesh
Out of a mamey with a spoon,
There is a steady, even flow from water to beach
To palm grove where we hide from the sun

For that short moment in the early afternoon
I am there
Face to the sun, arms stretched out, eyes closed,
Its heat and light sustain me
When in a little while
The sun has set
And my Caribbean beach is gone.


Holly Wilson

Bio Note: "I was born in Massachusetts, but consider myself a New Mexican since I moved here in 1971. I was living in San Diego from 1999 to 2012, but missed New Mexico a lot and had to come back. I now am a professor at Ashford University teaching online. I teach people who are studying to be teachers of English as a second language. While I was in San Diego, I didn't write very much poetry. Since coming back to Albuquerque, I have been impressed with how much poetry is going on and have gotten inspired by going to readings, and have been writing some new poems lately, like the poem you posted." Holly

Picture of Holly is by Debbie Coy. Note: this week's poem in New Mexico Mercury is by Jules NyquistPoetry submissions are welcome. Email or Thanks, Larry Goodell.

Views: 328

Comment by Dee Cohen on February 17, 2014 at 5:49am

Love the longing for home/finding of home in this poem. Thanks

Comment by larry goodell on February 18, 2014 at 8:00am

Holly Wilson started out saying her memorized poems in the Thunderbird Bar in Placitas (where we met in the '70's) then was in Albuquerque poetry activities 80's and on -- just about any coffee house, bookstore, venue Holly and her friends would read -- Joe Speer, Ralph Walbridge, John Knoll, Debbie Coy, Dick Whipple, Tony Mares, Maisha Baton, Charlie Ulibarri, Dianne Duff, Ferrel Brody, Diana Huntress . . . with a publication called Chameleon. Thanks Holly for organizing so many poetry events. Since then she's been a rising star in linguistics studies working for Ashford University . . . At the present time she is "back in town."  And thanks for this poem!

Comment by Izquierdo on February 18, 2014 at 8:21pm

I didn't quite know where you were headed after the first four lines, but I soon figured it out. It's always important to get the reader's attention.  Most enjoyable. Thanks.   

Comment by Margaret Randall on February 20, 2014 at 9:45am

I can taste this poem! Thank you.


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