Mark Lee Webb


Mark Lee Webb is a native of Kentucky, but as a teenager lived in California. He knows where a skeg is on a surfboard and how to get from Malibu to Westwood via Mulholland. But he also knows how to find Paris without leaving Kentucky. He’s Editor and Publisher of A NARROW FELLOW, Journal of Poetry. Mark presented his newest book, WHATEVERITS, at the 2014 University of Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture. Finishing Line Press published it in 2014. He was recently awarded a writing residency at the Noepe Center on Martha’s Vineyard.

It is Raining and the Planks on Lewes Pier Bleed

mackerel, striper, rotten skate. I have nothing better
to do when it rains, so I take holidays and crab,           
scrounge chicken necks for bait from the Co-Op,
stop at Derrickson’s for a cold cola, walk past
Saint Peter’s Episcopal Cemetery where irises bloom
on Miss Henrietta Stotesbury. Tomorrow, if it stops
raining, I will rise before dawn, slip on overalls,
and climb two-story ladders to ice gingerbread
in Salmon and Sea Green. My strokes are not savageries
inflicted on complicitly-stretched canvas, my palette not
Van Gogh’s Mediterranean Saintes-Maries brushed
in mistral winds. I work with my son at common labor
and together we walk scaffolding, lacquer Victorians
on McFee in Anemone and Bay Breeze. But if it rains
again I will slip away, stay on holiday pulling my pots,
sorting black fingers from rocks, blues from greens –
the females laden with eggs I will throw
back, the males destined for a scalding.

I collected the stories that became this poem from the recollections of my father, now eighty one, about my grandfather and great-grandfather who lived and worked as housepainters in Lewes, Delaware.