forested mountain near calm sea

Poetry No. 94 – Sam Alec


by Sam Alec

It’s better here, under the train tracks, where the sea smells like a pickle jar, where People is a distant thrum — a far-off rumble above my head, as one. 

In this place, the rain doesn’t start all at once, but with a single drop — pieces of weather are the individuals here, close up and personal, and People is the amalgamation, the unstable activity around which to plan strategic movement. From the cloud two emerge like raindrops, one at a time. 

“Don’t go in the water here,” says the young father to his tiny daughter, “Keep your shoes on, it’s dirty.” Can dirt be dirty? White and yellow scum floats by. Right, rot. “Can I go into the water?” Hopeful despite the obvious. Maybe the best quality of People. And with that, it exits the way it came, as vapor.

Algae has grown, then on top of that grew something entirely new and different. On the giant concrete railroad support, the water line is grimy gray up until between the numbers 5 and 7 — underlining an unstated 6. Here there is an odor for every thing that People throws away, woven with strands of earth and water and salt. Each leaving its stain. Here lies the waste, anything anybody thought was useless, too much, not new enough, not _____ enough. 

Putrid paradise, my odious oasis, stinking sanctuary, decomposing, divine. A community of what collects outside of the outside. The waste is like the weather, differentiated, distinguished.

It’s better here than up and over there.

Sam Alec is a mostly unknown artist residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some impressive life accomplishments include: successfully evading desensitization, a few major demolitions and reconstructions of personal belief systems, a well-cultivated affinity for the ugly and uncomfortable, a handful of hard lessons, and staying alive this long. More poems from Sam are published or forthcoming in 2023 issues of these fine publications:Troublemaker Firestarter, The Metaworker Literary Journal, Oddball Magazine, Hidden Peak Press, WordSwell, SORTES Magazine, Home Planet News,and haikuniverse.

Photo by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn on

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