In late October, 2010, I set out to write Alexandria, a book of poetry about Californian lighthouses. It was a topic that came to me through a chance encounter with a battered old library book. I quickly became consumed by the subject matter.
As a lifelong San Francisco Bay Area resident, I was drawn to the images of fog-shrouded, ragged coastlines and well-worn Victorian-era architecture. But beyond my aesthetic tastes, I was attracted to the stories of the lighthouses themselves. These beautiful structures, many having been built over a hundred years ago, were once absolutely necessary for maritime navigation. Over time and through many changes in navigational technology, they became less and less important to the point that many were neglected, forgotten, left to rot or torn down. Just as much as the book is about lighthouses, it’s also about remembrance; it’s about how we as individuals long to be recognized, how it feels to be forgotten and the joy it brings us to be remembered (and even loved). Each lighthouse has a different history, and with each history comes a unique perspective on time, memory and self.
but I do not feel modern, confined, I do not feel wholly
spoken for in only one shell. Consciousness comes in high seas,
peers over cliffs, fingers drumming the precipice. Oysters plant their
Yes, I live here. I watch the port ripple like a gull’s throat.
I might also exist in the deep water canyon, encrusted in starfish.
Sometimes I am a ghost in a harbor.
Perhaps it is best to speak Chumash–
My home is half-way. A resting place.
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The full book is available from Amber’s online shop: unpetitfauve.wordpress.com/