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The Big Blue and Me

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Books by Raymund Tamayo Poetry Ten (Lovepoems) ● 2000 Ang Ma-Dramang Buhay ng mga Superhero ● 2001 Heartstrings ● 2002 Pormang Makata ● 2003 Caught in the Warmth ● 2006 Midnight Musings and Blanket Kisses ● 2007 Drafts ● 2008 Love Letters ● 2008

Prose For You, Blue ● 1999 When Love Did Come ● 2001 Sometime in July ● 2003 Cloudy Days of Nowhere ● 2003 Published by LEAF® Books

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LEAF速 Books Olongapo 9


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LEAF® BOOKS Published by Leaf Publishing Company, Inc. 6 Jacaranda St. Gordon Heights, Olongapo City (047) 223-56-89 If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book”. Copyright © 2009 by Raymund Tamayo All Rights Reserved No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission in writing from the publisher; except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper. January 2009 This book is set in Adobe PDF format.

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Introduction I’ve wanted to write an “Ocean” poetry book for a long time. It seems like always. I remember trying several years ago then abandoning it when something else came up. It’s as if I couldn’t find the right muse, the most demanding muse, to write “Ocean” poems. Four stormy days in Cebu changed all that. The words here are the ones I lived with for the past several weeks, and they remain to me important. This book, in a way, chronicles my recent feelings about life and living. I don’t believe a man can write about the ocean and not include himself. Much of me is here and I have used the ocean as a platform to speak about the times and the seasons and people’s relationships to one another. Most of all, I’ve used the ocean to write about loving. I’ve also included here some old poems that I think had an “Ocean” theme. Psychologists equate man’s love for the ocean with motherlove. No wonder so many sun-tanned young men and women look at us from magazines and television, selling beer and cigarettes from docks and sailboats! I have made love and thought myself a lover by the ocean. Caught cold from it. Nearly drowned in it once or twice and walked alone by it more often than I care to remember. I’ve known the oceans off Olongapo and Subic Bay, Laguna and Batangas, Pangasinan and Manila, Cebu and Davao, and I’ve loved them all. How much fun it was to write about the ocean! How much fun it will be to write about it again. Everyday I thank God for the chance. It is marvelous to know that I am not too young anymore (I’m turning 30 this year) and not very old either. And that I’ll be writing poems about the ocean for a long, long time to come. This should be the first of many, I hope and believe. I cross the streets more carefully now. Raymund Tamayo, January 2009

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For my wife, Denielle and to all the lovers lost at sea

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THE POEMS DID YOU KNOW………………………………………… 23 EARLY MORNING………………………………………. 24 THE WORST OF OURSELVES……………………….. 27 A LESSON FROM THE SEA…………………………... 29 WHAT I DO WHEN I MISS YOU………………………. 34 WAITING…………………………………………………. 35 OLD HOUSES…………………………………………… 36 IT’S NICE TO BE ALONE………………………………. 38 PHANTOM FRIENDS…………………………………… 39 SAND CASTLES………………………………………… 40 REMEMBERING………………………………………… 42 A MAN ALONE……………………….………………….. 43 SAIL AWAY…………………………….………………… 44 THE WAY HOME…………………………….………….. 46 ONE SMALL OCEAN………………………….………… 47 LATE AFTERNOON………………………….…………. 50 A LITTLE RAIN WON’T HURT ME………….…………. 51 STAR-SAILING……………………………….………….. 55 YOUR OCEAN…………………………………….……… 57 BEFORE SUNLIGHT……………….………………….… 58 18


OLD POEMS THAT DAY AT THE BEACH……………………………. 62 BOARDWALK……………….……………………………. 64 PURPLE-ORANGE SKY………………………………… 65 OCEAN……….………….…….…………………..……… 66 ANOTHER QUIET DAY FOR DAYDREAMING…….… 68 ONLY HERE……………..……………………………….. 70 DRIFTING…………..…………………………………….. 72 TODAY THE DOLPHINS CAME TO PLAY……..…….. 73 APRIL 18………………..………………………………… 74 SIX…………………………….…………………………… 75

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January Fifteenth, 1:02 A.M. I feel lonely. This is a fact when I’m in Cebu. Especially now that the ocean is near me. Fifty steps away to be exact. It’s the Aboitiz Foundation Corporate Social Responsibility annual planning, and it has to be held here in Danao City. By the beach, near the sea. And I’m alone. I’ve finished writing several poems, enough to become a book titled “The Big Blue and Me”. I assume you know “The Big Blue” because I assume you know “Me”. As big and blue the ocean is, I know your affection for me is, too. Maybe I feel lonely because I feel alone. Yes, I have rain as company. Yes, I have friends with me, colleagues in other rooms. They make me laugh and smile, quite easy yes they do. But outer heart is different from inner heart, and in my life now, “alone” had become synonymous with “without you”. I hear ocean waves newly flapping. I see white caps reflecting moonlight, oblivious of this thin rainshower. Night swimming? No, the rain and wind blows chilling. Besides night swimming always deserves a quiet night and some intimacy. I wish we’re side by side right now, you’re the only one who can pull me from moments like this, not bed or beer, or any boat and sail. Only you and your love can lift me, bring me back my ability of flight. That is one knowledge I learned and learn the hard way. There are half a hundred sentences unfinished, unstarted on these pages. I can’t even begin to say how much I miss you. But as this big blue ocean rolls before me and away, I wait. The mystery of the sea is no clearer than it was for me before. Worse, the mystery of myself grows harder to discern. I wonder how long I can wait, how long I can move, go through the motions, knowing what I know. Minutes felt like days and days felt like years. Why go through the motions anyway? I don’t know… 21


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DID YOU KNOW One ocean for me is not like any other except to say that each has given love when I need it, joy when there was none forthcoming and peace if I stayed long enough to wait for it or seek it out. Thank you, Holy Spirit.

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EARLY MORNING The fog in Cebu this morning is beautiful. You should be here. I should kiss you from sleep and walk with you along the beach. We can wade in the cool water your shorts high above your knees listen as your laugh is lost in the sounding of the waves.

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We can watch the coming of the morning tide and sun, never mind the rain, they will be our friends today. Coffee and kisses they are our friends too. Let me taste the sweetness of your lips even if only now.

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How else could I attempt to move through these last days far from you?

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THE WORST OF OURSELVES A beautiful day, I’m up at six. The beach is empty except for some sea birds raking on the sand. Walking by, I try to collect sea shells or starfish, or sea-rubbed bottles with or without messages. There was none. Plenty of true beach trash though. A rubber flip-flop sandal, a bent, already rusted sand bucket, cans, plastic containers, tetra packs that will go from this life to the next resisting destruction.

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God gives us clean blue water that carries in it every kind of treasure. And what do we do in return? We trade back the worst of ourselves‌ junk we hatch and leave like eggs --with not even the courtesy to bury them like the sea turtle does. What a business it is between us and the ocean.

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A LESSON FROM THE SEA In the half-light I saw swimmers coming from the darkness carrying a boy’s body low, as though his weight was bending all of them into the same submission. As though the boy was pulling them down the way the sea had pulled him to herself.

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He was, of course, just one more lover of the big blue water. A clumsy boy who swam a little farther out each day hoping to win the ocean’s affection. I wonder what he said as he went down the final time, as he gasped his final breath, here I am or let me go?

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I feel like the sea eats up the men who love her the most, the way a queen ant must finally one day kill the soldiers who fought for her in battles and fought with her in bedrooms.

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If I must, I’d do the same, I am not afraid. I’d go down gladly in a whirlpool just to see her again. For the sea it wasn’t murder, but poor repayment for a man whose only crime was to love the big blue water, that in a single swallow broke and took him.

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The ocean has a lesson echoed for all of us. Push forward, she keeps saying till your life is bare upon the shore until you’re naked to yourself. But don’t forget loving me doesn’t mean you have to reach my deepest depths. You can also love me from afar. To wade the water is to learn.

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WHAT I DO WHEN I MISS YOU I go on still I go on and I go on can you see me go on‌

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WAITING I’m part of every ocean because the sea is part of me. One day I’ll fall down singing in the sand and not rise again, blissful to be covered by waves held in the perpetual grip of my ocean lover. Till the tide comes in and takes me for its own, I’ll be content to wade in the water a little deeper every time.

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OLD HOUSES I love these old houses lined up at the beach. I love them for their smells, misty, almost salty, watery, dust and mildew accumulated through the passing of years. I love them for what they’ve been to people I’ll never know. The character of aquatic cracks means more to me than concrete walls, prettily painted, walls that play the neighbor’s music when the music I love has gone to sleep.

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The faces of these old houses are like those of old souls, every flaw is a highway from the past. And so I love these old houses lined up at the beach whether here in Cebu or not.

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IT’S NICE TO BE ALONE It’s nice to be alone to wake up by yourself and own the day awhile not have to smile for anybody. Get to know yourself waste away the day and not have to talk to anybody. What a feeling to stay in bed with nothing very much to do but watch the sea arrive on shore, even the waves don’t look back at you. It’s nice to be alone just looking at the ocean, being on the sand feel the wind brush your hair. It’s nice to be alone… sometimes.

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PHANTOM FRIENDS What a time this weekend to just observe, to call the sea companion and let imaginary friendships tumble, spin as the heart goes spinning too. Friends needn’t be real in body if they are comrades in our minds. A friend can be a coconut tree and never know it, or any special tree within this self same beach.

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SAND CASTLES A pet sand castle on the shore, four days old now begin to die. No more concern from the child who built the once loved structure. No tears shed for its passing. Left at the beach to slowly crumble, it becomes a prized widow’s souvenir, as the old woman’s hands rebuilds and replaces lost sand amidst the faded and still fading castaway fortress.

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There she finds an empty sardine can, a broken plastic fork and some sea shells to decorate and to brighten up a few more days of gloom. Even as she moves from sight she starts staring at her new masterpiece, and as people passed by, goes on reaching out her old hands to somehow fill up an aching stomach.

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REMEMBERING I have no calendar for remembering no time set aside memories no hour designated it comes when it comes… it catches me unconsciously waiting it locates me very early in the morning or lying in bed late at night. And on these joyless times when rain starts to fall and the weather is cold it lies in ambush among the clouds. When I walked by the resort’s driveway in every car parked I see you on the passenger seat, along the beach front rooms you smile at me from every doorway. At the lobby I open a magazine and on every page is your picture, I watch tv and the face on the screen belongs to you. I wonder what’s happening to me?

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A MAN ALONE Here in El Salvador Beach watching other lovers do familiar things and make familiar love, I think I have never missed you more. Few strangers walk the dark steps of the garden and those that do have mutual paths. They go along their private oceans to their private beds and I to mine‌ alone.

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SAIL AWAY Most oceans lead away to other shores but it is the same ocean, the same water that touch the soul. With a mind packed and a heart filled with nothing and everything I have, it takes another boat to hold the remnants of my past life while leaving room enough to stuff in some new stuff whatever trash or treasure lies ahead. I may go down seas that seem to have no sense or sensibility, I may ride through currents that other people couldn’t imagine. But I believe these voyages will make all of us see a different side of truth.

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And so I travel and tour sail down seas broad and wide in weather cold and climate fair. Where I go may not be the same place every one goes. But you may come.

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THE WAY HOME Don’t be afraid to sail along with whales or swim naked with seals. As travelers and explorers we should use whatever kind of ship it takes to make our journey home go smoothly across the oceans. And if you love somebody tell them. Love’s a better compass for sailing through the years than anything humans ever made. Believe it. Try it, anyway.

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ONE SMALL OCEAN Arms full of love beds full of promises a head full of words and songs but none – no one here to hear them now at a breath away. Today I own the whole wide ocean – all the sea that I can see and more. But no one to share it with. Only in memories she comes and joins.

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Back home we own one small pond. We take care of it, keep it clean and strong and pure for everyone to see. And with the aid of but a little sand we polish and hone the sides and bottom, to protect it from any enemy.

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In my mind I see her by that pond. Keeping it the way it was when I went away till I come back. I own the ocean now – but it is only one small ocean compared to that one large pond.

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LATE AFTERNOON Rain forms and falls in this lonely island today and I’m wondering is it raining there, too? Is your day also filled with wanting, or the needle point of knowing that I’m waiting, that I wait for you? I do. I do. Sail safely home to me, come evening. Make room for me within your life and I’ll make room for you within my arms. Call me or send me a message in a bottle. I’ll be on the beach reading, waiting. Wanting.

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A LITTLE RAIN WON’T HURT ME Night now after an even longer day than yesterday. This January is getting warmer and warmer with a little rain. I suppose cold time is over. I believe that submerging into you is going back to myself. That by the simple act of joining hands with you I become more of me.

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There are no cheap bars for poets like ourselves, and so we move into each other like lyricists needing to get drunk.

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Need? My need for you is near addiction.

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No sail has ever drawn wind the way your smile has drawn the back of my eyes. Alone now – again with moonlight the color of chinaware moving with the evening birds and the low clouds, I know this rain will not leave. It will not abandon. It will stay.

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STAR-SAILING See the stars. Count them. Watch the stars go sailing through the sky. And as the stars move through the heavens preordained and predestined, so too our hearts here and there float along as if by prearrangement. Now they’re everywhere, up above and in the ocean, barefoot and barelimbed on beaches they illuminate white waves and disappear like lovers in the final feathered plunge.

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Can this be a game of hide and seek or some new dance routine designed to awe-inspire? Are they innocent of what they do to me or I am meant to be an audience from afar? See how they fly hurriedly as if there were no time. Yet the night is only beginning and they will still have hours together. But we will have years. If they covered up with familiar rain clouds tonight or any when, my heart will yet have joy to last beyond a lifetime. Because we will have years.

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YOUR OCEAN Send me your ocean big and blue. Pack it neatly. Arrange it so that when opened up the whole of it will spread across these last two days or more. Make it full… as full as any picnic basket packed up tightly with things of love. Each day need not be warm light rain can stay, should stay, given that your sea and its inhabitants will be here. Let me spend these last hours dreaming of oceans and seas… of water from skies… until the minute comes when I can drown in and out your ocean once more.

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BEFORE SUNLIGHT I love the sunrise colors not just now in Cebu but every day, every day that God is good to share His red, orange and yellow with me. Lately I sleep late and so I seldom see the scarlet morning or the gold behind trees. This morning is enchanting, holding me still on my seat. Baby, you’re gonna miss that plane. Please. Don’t let it be today.

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OLD POEMS

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THAT DAY AT THE BEACH (June 2001)

I wanted you that day at the beach because you were beautiful. Because you smiled and because I know we would be good for one another. I wanted you because my arms were aching for something warm, something remembered --but you never let me want you. I loved you that day at the beach in so many ways. When you were sleeping beside me. When you were away collecting sea shells and bleached starfish washed upon the shore. I watched as you move, still amazed by the proverbial sight. I have seen the march of beach birds and still loved you. I’ve leant myself to summer sun and still loved you. I’ve waited on waves to crash towards us counting minutes till our chartered hours are over. And I still love you. I love you.

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Now I wait at the beach walking by the river, looking up beyond the bridges to the sky. I should chase you up the rocks and catching you I’ll hold tight till my eyes inside well up from happiness and even out of breath love should be attempted on the high rocks or the white beach like the love that first brought us together. You see I still plan the day with you in mind as though your eyes were bright for me still and your head still inclined to mine. There are questions never asked. Because the answers were already learned at love’s expense. I’ve promised myself I will not ask if you still love me now. I don’t want anyone to get hurt. Don’t worry, I won’t. I’ll only say hello and hope.

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BOARDWALK (July 2002)

We bought squid ball and gulaman, while eating a yawn. Both slept late last night, perhaps the boredom’s what keeps us together. God knows that beach was full of tired smiles. You were wearing your usual shirt jeans, sneakers, and dimpled-smile, wanting to be on the other side of the bench, Just to see my face before my shadow. You said “I miss you” even if we’re already together. And then followed by “I love you more than I miss you”. You were always like that. I got my arm over your shoulders in public now, before the ocean, under the moon. Dreaming big dreams. Thinking big things. It’s another time, another place where I often come back. I miss your “I miss you”, Even if we’re already together.

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PURPLE-ORANGE SKY (November 2004)

There on a humid beach The sea breezes gently In a pale November afternoon. You and me Silent, as seafoam lettuces Delighted with peace. The sky sat waiting Premeditated as a sailor’s smile Requesting for an ounce of attention. You said You miss my smiles from sunset To sunrise Or everytime you couldn’t see them. Well, I tell you the same. It’s hard to sleep Without you at night Though I try breathing with the waves. The nights are longer than light years now Until our project comes. But I’ll bet Your arms encircle me When nighttime comes. It’s something that I feel Even if you’re far away. This is you and me Sitting here Watching the clouds Thanking God for November afternoons Below this purple-orange sky. 65


OCEAN (May 2005)

Clear waters spin spiral as the ferry chugs through, the cloudless sky blue looking at himself in his mirror called the ocean. The wind breathes cold breaths of anticipation, as we journey towards an island of carousel and splendor. Fresh as a fruit my mind sees you, wishing again for the favor of your presence as I enjoy the beauty before me.

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Ancient forces of the unruly salt reminds me of the love I give you, nobody knows the strength but only love can take us beyond a lifetime. I see your eyes go out from the water, and the waves rise with every gentle wink, this is how you become everything that lives. Wide, strong, deep, beautiful, clear, endless, pure, wise, and mystifying, this is the ocean’s promise of love for you.

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ANOTHER QUIET DAY FOR DAYDREAMING (December 2006)

It's one of those days --I put my palms on my eyes and it all comes to me; the yellow sun ...the Hawaiian blue, the clear sky, children running on the beach, aquatic birds flying in formation down to the sea, and back. As it does when accountabilities were too much to bear, I put my palms on my eyes and it all comes to me... ...you. Off to town in our Mitsubishi Adventure, 2007 model, to get some new bread, cheese, and oranges, and some vegetables for a meatless stew, you cradle Ryah in your arms, smiling. At the sidewalk stand I bought some magazines, candies and fried nuts for everyone waiting.

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Back at the beach, so far no radio, no daily papers, and, of course, no television in the cottage. Good. It's nice to be isolated from the outside completely sometimes. Away from the hype of media. Away from the power of time. Just to be with you and Ryah. It takes a long time for a single blossom to fall from a flower tree. I wish I have so much time to spare that I can watch all the flowers fall from all the trees. All these are good as they are, but please remember there is still no fresh air without love.

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ONLY HERE (March 2007)

Only in the quiet I can be with you. Only in the quiet we have all things true. Only here in our world we control space, time, and nausea. We decide where to go, what to dress, when to sleep. In here, there is peace, safety, and freedom. We'll go heavenwards as slowly as you like and be there by tonight.

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I'd carry you so far away that we'd reach seashores yet unseen and bathe in water even fish had not yet tasted. Let's walk down the day easy knowing our security is movable going wherever we go. I want you to remember when things don't go exactly right in the outside world, only here inside our Savior's arms we are free.

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DRIFTING (April 2007)

This is the way it was while I was waiting for your eyes to find me. Chocolates are dull, coffee are cold, clouds are gray, shampoos have no scent. My mind travels tired out of a well of meaningless words, wandering, floating like an owl blinking in the morning. I was drifting going no place, hypnotized by sunshine maybe, or the sea wind or food. I loved every face I thought looked pretty and every kindred eye I caught in crowds. But I was drifting, before you.

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TODAY THE DOLPHINS CAME TO PLAY (April 2007)

Today the dolphins came to play and I watched them jump for joy seemed just then, they were wise old men and I, a foolish boy. Pounder, Zack, Tonka, and Loki I knew them all by name in harmony with the songs of the sea they danced atop mighty waves. Today the dolphins came to play and I never felt so small they are so grand, squeaking on the sand God's gift for us all.

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APRIL 18 (April 2008)

Some friendships come and go the same as waves and sunsets. Tomorrow will be yesterday the day after tomorrow. Some friendships linger for whatever time that friendship is needing and needed. Other friendships cannot be dissolved. Space and time mean nothing. Just words. We are on a ship, remember? Just us against the waves and stars.

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SIX

(April 2008) The ocean makes something out of nothing every day by the running in and running back of the tide alone. Think of how much we’ve made until today.

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The Big Blue and Me Copyright Š 2009 by Raymund Tamayo All Rights Reserved

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The Big Blue and Me  

Raymund Tamayo's poetry book about the sea

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