[Poem] Beach Day

So last weekend, I spent a day at the beach (Punta Fuego in Nasugbu, Batangas, to be exact) courtesy of my mom’s high school reunion committee.  It was lots of fun, and I got to parade around in my hot new Anemone tankini from Nothing But H20.  By and large, the trip was lots of fun, but I had my share of drama when we went skin diving/snorkeling at “The Tip,” which is technically a marine reserve.  I ended up butting heads with an obsessive aquarium culture enthusiast who was trying to carry away a blue starfish from the reef so he could sell it on the exotic fish market.  The poor thing had been clumsily half-crammed into a container far to small for it and obviously fading from being out of the water for too long.
Suffice it to say, I freaked out, and after a long and protracted struggle (during which, I have to admit, I cried), I managed to steal the blue starfish back with the help of one of my friends, André, and deposit it back in the reef.
This poem was born of my frustration.  While I’m not a hardcore environmentalist at all, and I’m not against fishing in general, something about that small, blue life got to me.  This poem was born.
Beach Day

Count the cost, I dare you.
Add up on your abacus, 
in cold cash,
the beauty of blue stars,
the value of small lives,
the joy of a boy 
watching a school of shocked fish
swim frantically past 
under a green-glass ocean.
Put a figure to finding limestone, coral bone
bright white in dying light,
or the ocean returning
a lost glove to its owner.
Sell the roar of a jetski
cutting through the waves. 
Name a price to the feeling of flying when thrown,
or the memory of a twenty-five meter swim.
On a whim, 
you lay hold of the starfish,
the limpets, the sand, 
scrabbling crabs, saltwater;
think of money they’d offer,
You say to consider opportunity cost.
I say, opportunity’s not worth what’s lost
when you seize life from the sea, but can’t see its worth.

Leave only footprints.
Take only pictures.
Kill, if you must kill,
only time.


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