Trinie Dalton

Written by Trinie Dalton

Tones on tail (you can’t be funky), 2012

Both of them face west, which usually feels sunnier and farther away.

Or at least they could agree on that while climbing one canyon to reach another. This canyon was sterile, though its bare ground and jagged rocks were even more brilliantly colored than the flowers of the first. The path was silver, grained with streaks of rose-gray, and its walls were turquoise, mauve, chocolate and lavender. The air itself was vibrant pink. (1)

The city went by a different name then, and Gary Cooper was young(2), which she explained is, in fact, a reversal, as a shoreline is defined by age. As she saw it, the water conspires with the wind and slams the coast like a sack of rocks, over and over, for years and years, eventually reducing the size of sand particles.

She emphasized that "water" and "wind" both start with the same letter. They also share some defining characteristics. Because together, the words alliterate at the same time that they weave in and out of one another. "Beach" and "ball" have the same thing going on. This is probably why balls were adapted for the beach in the first place.

He recalled visiting a pool each morning. First, he’d order a Mai-Tai. Never too early for a Mai-Tai. Next, he’d disrobe surrounded by lounge chairs and club music, and jump in. The only word to describe the following movement was "gliding." which he did through water the color dark blue, a reflection from its vinyl floor and wall lining. From their lookout, he could point to the very place where this would happen.

He said: I was thinking to start a petition aimed at reverting to its old name. Mogador sounds a lot more like a place where there are castle walls than Essaouira does.

She said: Wave sports and Essaouira go better together, your mouth makes a similar movement. They do a lot of that in the Columbia River gorge in Washington.

Move their mouths synchronously, She asked, archly. (3)

Windsurf. Apparently Duke Ellington passed through it once. He was on tour with his band and looked out the window of their bus as it wound along the right and left side of the river. Noticing the hills above looked similar to the bodies of reclining women, he named the song "Sophisticated Lady."

It’s a good story.
Might be true.
Not sure sophisticated ladies recline naked.
Sure they do.
Does she recline in the movie?

After, but before he had a chance to sit down, she was already eating. She buttered a slice of bread, covered the butter with sugar and took a big bite. Then she quickly smeared a gob of mayonnaise on the salmon and went to work. Just as he was about to sit down, she asked for something to drink. He poured her a glass of milk and stood watching her like a waiter. (4)

Then she said, with mouth full, You can float in the water, but that beach is made of pebbles. Some shorelines are pebbles. Sitting on them feels like a cheap imitation.

A lot of sandy beaches are manufactured.

He remembered this conversation the morning he floated on his stomach past the swells. Once in smoother water he rolled onto his back, feet pointed at the shore, hands beyond his head. Realizing he’d never swam out this far, he quickly turned back onto his stomach and moved back toward the sand. A moment after that he was in, and then under the breakers, churning in circles until the bottom became the top and sand replaced air in his throat. The circles moved him laterally so that his face intersected with the inclining sand of the beach, loose particles from which combined with salt water and flooded his eyes.

So much so, he couldn’t tell which shoreline was which. He couldn’t make out the difference between the blue he was in and blue from the vinyl lining on the bottom of a swimming pool.


1. Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust, New York: Random House, 1939, p. 113
2. Morocco, Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1930.
3. Nathanael West, op. cit., p. 109
4. Ibid, p. 95


© 2012 Mary Rinebold Copeland; Les Halles de Perrentruy: Marrakech Press

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