I was Like a Whale Swimming in the Middle of the Sea in OB

by on September 27, 2010 · 8 comments

in Culture, From the Soul, Ocean Beach

Whale Tale-sm

Man, did I have a good time

in OB,

much like the time a whale

I saw in a watercolor

on a table

in the middle of the street

seemed to be having

to me –


as I was feeling,


out in the middle of the sea,

ever so pure

and naturally,

breathing easy,

savoring the best

that life offered

at that particular

place and time.

I have no idea

where this blacked tail whale

had been

or where it was going

but I,


am rising

from dark places,

shedding grief

like leaves of fall,

gingerly leaning into the winds

of days ahead,

trying to give all I can to humanity

before I get my call.

And through it all

I am seeking as much fun

as there might be out there for me

between this very moment

and the one that introduces me to my destiny.

It was along such lines that I was in OB,

hanging out with, as we used to say in the 50’s,

my squeeze,

both of us looking

for some time together

at our ease

and we

checked into the Elsbree House



so we could walk

to enjoy

the annual festivities

hosted by 88.3.

The art.

The jazz.

The vibe.

The groove.

And Lord have mercy

there was music played

that would make

an inanimate object

jump up and move.

That is the flat out truth.

Salsa, Big Band, Boogie, Blues,

music to arouse,

music to soothe.

And a musician

I’ve heard and seen

ever since he first came on the scene

grabbed me up

and let me loose.

Maceo Parker:

James Brown’s longtime

number one man

and his band,

as only they can,

laid down some funky sounds

that would get residents of burial grounds

up on their feet

gittin’ down.

He had us

just as “The hardest working man in show business”

used to say: “Doing the do!

Doing the do!”

And like the whale

who I had seen

diving into the deep blue,

I dove into that sea

of earthiness

with my flukes

as dancing feet

following me into the hole,


every terpsichorean molecule

in my body and soul

took me under its control

and I was busting dance moves

I didn’t even know

I owned

along with every move

I’ve ever known.

I became a crafter of

smooooooth glides

and slides

and strides

like I was a member of the Temptations

on the side.

I don’t know where I found

those shoulder dips

accompanied by

my frozen 72 year old hips

which seemed to always

be two beats behind;

but I didn’t mind

with a horn section

blowing my mind

pouring out riffs

that would race

and then stop on a dime

while the heavy bass line

and the drums kept perfect time

like not doing so was a

capital crime

and the piano

kept laying down

notes and chords

mellow enough

to sweeten a lime.

Oh, what a time.

Just what I needed

on my climb

from the depths

of sorrow

to tomorrow.

Like a whale

swimming free in the middle of the sea,

being himself,

doing what comes about naturally,

I find myself feeling

more like me.

And if there’s a better place

to feel good than in OB,

then I hope somebody

reveals that place to me.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ernie McCray September 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

And I still feel the same.


renesands September 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm



Kim September 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm


Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem.

I am happy to know that you are again experiencing such joy and living life to the fullest!




liveinOB September 27, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Beautiful! Just Beautiful
I felt like I was there


Roz September 27, 2010 at 9:25 pm

thank you Ernie–that was some music!


Gary Gilmore September 27, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Nice Ernie……Real nice


annagrace September 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Ernie- I will never ever believe that your 72 year old hips are two beats behind. I’m enjoying the swim with you- out there.


Lauren September 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

Dear Ernie,

I smiled and smiled as I read this beautiful poem. You are remarkable!

Happy I am to know the joy of your experience.



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