Manly poem

We drive to Manly and then walk past the kebab shops
and pubs, still reasonably unsullied.
Plodding through the cigarette-studded grit
where civilisation chafes nature. Our towels
and bathers no less mannered than the corsets
and high heels of fetishists – the rituals you go through
in pursuit of absolution. But once you get there,
ah. Seawater the colour of fossilised beer bottles,
salty and cold; fizzing. You wade in, past surfers
in wetsuits and young boys on boogie boards.
The water like an electric whip on your bare,
goose-pimpled skin. Out in the swell, your lover
cajoles you forward and with frenzied tenseness
you plunge face-first into the froth. It’s glorious.
Battered by the present tense; waves that punish
distractedness. Your bikini top pulls
to the side, snagging on your nipples
as the madman you’re with demonstrates
the ‘deck chair’ – legs stuck straight ahead
with toes serenely cresting. Awash
with uncomplicated pleasure, sucked
and rolled around the mouth of experience,
air-starved at desire’s summit – your goal
(romantic love) is rendered insignificant.
But you giggle with happiness anyway
when he pulls you in for a kiss.

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