Cite/Sight/Site Vol. I: The Beach

(See also Progress of Loss on The Fender/Mender Project)


(for Derek, Danielle, Sean, and Will)

If the Sea is history, then what is the Beach? What is the land near the Sea, the solid stage of matter that comes in the form of many, tiny, salty grains? What is that thing water comes home to?

The Sea has no beginning or end. It just is: full of truths and lies and deep dark holes we will never be able to truly fathom. Be careful of falling in.

And the Beach? With its miles of sand that lie parallel to miles of sea, sand that does not intersect (and in that way does not penetrate) the Sea: What is that?

The Sea is History, drowned in it shackles and ships and bodies, so many bodies, bowels and boys, little boys and girls who would have grown up to be big men and even bigger women had they not sunk to the bottom, had their lungs not bloated with water, salty water that shriveled up their respective life forces.

It was Walcott who said that the Sea is History, that the sea has their monuments, their battles, martyrs, their tribal history. (1)

And who are they?

They are the sons of History.

History has no daughters.

The Sand is every single woman I know.

The Sand flows through his hands (2), escaping, faster than he can finally realize that what he really needs is water to slow all of it down. He needs the Sea to sop it up and stop.

[It is actually the Sand sopping up and stopping the Sea. That’s the part they never tell you.]

Wet clumps of sand are jewels, gems to be examined and appraised. Cut them up real nice and set them in a ring or bracelet or wear them hanging from a chain around your neck. And when people point to your chest, swatting, “You’ve got something right there,” tell them, “Oh, no, that’s just my peace of mind, tiny pieces of mind, my most prized possessions. I never leave home without them.”

She said, “It’s the beach. You can never go back.” (3)

At first you panic, immediately, and then you think, “Oh, no, it’ll be there.” (4)

But in reality, you can never go back.

The trickiest thing about the Beach and the Sea is that they are one in the same: both infinite in their possibility and potential to consume; both outrageously overwhelming in their measure and existence; both with the power to tell (and steal) time;

both gods.

And we’re standing at the shore with hands held out praying to them for answers, for favors, as if either one owes us a thing.

As if we could go back.

We can never go back.



1. Walcott, Derek. “The Sea Is History.” In The Star-Apple Kingdom. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979. 25-28. Print.



2. Will, 3/18/13/13, around noon, the Internet

3. Danielle, 3/18/13, around 10pm, Ridgewood, NY

4. Sean, 3/18/13, around 10pm, Ridgewood, NY


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