A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2006, vol 2 no 2

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Gary LeBel


Candlelight flickers here and there among the timeshares and old beach houses. Despite the strict Cartesian geometry of long rows of shadowy condominiums, it's tempting to imagine an eighteenth century night is falling instead, and pretend it into being.

Under the benevolent eye of the evening star, we comb the beach for hours, the normally garish store fronts and eateries demurely reticent without their neon—how clear the constellations are now!

The local watering hole one street from the beach groans with a portable generator, keeping the beer cold and registers ringing while the bar itself is aglow with candles and oil lamps. The mood of the drinkers who've spilled out into the street has generated its own alternating current, something like the joy of children camping out or that calm certain people have who move with the wind rather than buck it, all acting on an insight of how little is really needed, aside from sky and a fire, a little conversation or a bit of music, to smooth the hard creases of a day into the welcoming velour of night.

island blackout—
Orion takes it
lying down