His real name is John Donnelley. A sunrise conversation a few of us had with John in the parking lot about surfing inspired me to write a poem about a fictional (kinda sorta) character titled “Surfer John.” This well known Seal Beach local drove through the parking lot frequently in his weathered Toyota Camry stuffed with piles of items with just enough room for him, a passenger, and surfboards on top. I did not get a chance to have another chat with with John since this day I took his picture as he studied the surf.
Unfortunately, John was allegedly murdered in his home by arson a few days ago. I don’t know to what depths a man’s heart goes to make him take another man’s life, but instead of going there, this poem is in memory of “Surfer John.”
I met this surfer man at dawn
who introduced himself as John.
Hoping for waves but most were gone,
so he kept chatting looking to bond.
I studied where he parked his old ride.
His car was filled with older things inside.
I wondered if his belongings could share their pride.
What tales they’d tell and secrets they’d confide.
John said that he lived down the street
I gather he’s says that to all those he meets.
He’s really a millionaire being discreet.
Looking for someone to sit in his passenger seat.
To take on adventures up and down the coast
Taking surf safaris that only few can boast
My theory is that he’s got pockets deeper than most
searching for someone he could trust and host.
Then again, he could be this guy named John who wanted to surf, and I let my imagination get away to share on this post.
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