The Sea Salt and Me

The docks by Mt. Fuji, Japan, 2014.

Self-conscious in my swimsuit
but still wearing one for the first time since childhood.
No t-shirt,
just my skin and that porous, funny-smelling cloth.
Progress.
I have always felt at home
wading in the sea.
I feel at home again, now.
Surrounded by a suspended wave,
waiting for it to come crashing down as waves do;
A trickle releases from the mass above me.
I remember the old wave…
How she flowed down around me and then retreated
as quickly as she could, back to the sea.
And the next, how he swept me up in him
only to crash down on top of another instead of me.
Part of me believes she had a better swimsuit;
Another part of me wagers she just wore the same one better.
Still, as I stand in this wave, the previous waves weigh my body down
less and less.
Their cold remnants tingle,
leave goosebumps,
and cool me in the heat.
The new wave devoid of temperature – matching my own temperature so nearly…
And I don’t remember if heat transference ever occurred,
or if we maintained the integrity of our stasis in individuality,
and met due to a universal state of common flow.
I part my lips slightly and the salt of the water finds my tongue.
Bitter, but invigorating.

It commands a certain taste,
but provides what my body has been lacking.
I cry into the wave,
the salt of my tears becomes even more part of the wave than I am:
inextricable, irretrievable.
I pray that I could become my tears and fully meld with the sea.
The salt, he is my sustenance.
I am my own, but even more so with him.
He does the same thing for the water,
turning it into life-giving energy
apart from land and sky, but still part of the system.
I want the salt for myself, but I want him to remain in the water,
sustaining life as he does.
Can we not share?
Would the wave return to gravity
and then the sea,
abandoning me,
without the integrity of the salt?
I wish I could be suspended in the wave
with the salt
endlessly.

Explanation

In my poetry, I frequently use sensual language to express really raw feelings and experiences. It is definitely intended as a twist on the traditional sexualized language surrounding females; It tends to add poignancy and readers pay attention because they may be uncomfortable.
The beginning of this piece is a more physical parallel to how I feel mentally about my levels of self-awareness and confidence. I am so much improved over the last time I examined myself in a similar experience, but that doesn’t mean I am not flawed. I still have anxieties and question myself, but now I know how to deal with those feelings in a healthier way and work on self-improving. Of course, the language I use is the language I would use to describe how I feel in a swimsuit now – confident, not because I have the body I wanted, but because I have a pretty good one I think that feeling of recovery is a really good external analogy for my entire mental/physical/emotional state.
Then we get into the water. The waves are some swells of really, really stellar friendships. I know they are waves because they surge and eventually fade. Which is like a really, really uncharacteristically pessimistic view for me, but that’s how it’s been.  So there’s a wave that is so huge and wonderful and comforting, represented by my close friends and all of the random persons intermingled in that group (another reason the water imagery fits well). I just… I accept that it may have a season in this life and I will savor it, but the knowledge that it may end (soon) leaves me with a resigned fear/sadness when I let myself think about it.
That said, the cold and absence of previous waves is less and less painful and more and more just full of trace happy memories. And the new wave makes accessing those more easy and enjoyable. So, despite myself, I am so caught-up in the love of the new wave, and I cannot tell if I was this person before having the privilege of friendships and that’s why our vibes are so consistent and strong, or if I have grown since being in it and have become more “one” with a communal vibe. Either way, it feels so sustainable and loving – like seeing part of God in a really unencumbered way.
The salt is weird. It is the way I feel about God’s presence in the group and in individuals in the group. However, every new salt-line takes on the shape of my feelings about each one of them. We all connect on an individual level with great love and strength. And sometimes, I want to just tap into that all the time, but know that might not be sustainable. Some of the feels wrapped up in there are messy, not always for the best, a little too on-the-line. But that, to me makes it even sweeter and more human and lovable. It’s weird and flows every-which-way in it’s own time.

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