Jane Kim works at the Museum of Contemporary Art and is inspired by paintings, ceramics and music – a lot of which figures in her poetry. This is her first time published. Jane studied a B.A. Communications at the University of Technology, Sydney.
I’m deft to hold her head and pluck
those grey hairs, to deceive people into thinking she’s young and
take endless care in finding more wires amongst the black,
to find the talking points over the past 24 years and remember that when
her mother was here, she was hit across the face.
Is this how we do things (?) move to different
countries and have a kid Aunt
receive her spirit – a warm feeling that died to meet her husband at
death bed. I still don’t know what no one
wants to say about their parents and some day, she won’t
be around to give in to a book.
I’ve found her youth written blue
in a puzzle box comprising of 1000 pieces and I think she feels
the truth in my face. She’ll knit matching jumpers though hers
will always have a trim & mine kept simple to highlight skin.
The Ocean will be a Desert
I talked across the table
to her best face, with glasses &
velvet blazer – she’s got so many of those, but this time
I tell her I’m scared because I know
she’d be a lot worse in my seat.
She’s one of those
comforted by risks others take.
It takes a human
then, not less, to fight against guilt. So it’s two rights:
the first being stability
& the next, the need to live a chance life.
What time is it?
For the next lunch, whoever owes a soup dish or sandwich, I’ll
tell her about my father who never turns on or off a light. Would much
prefer to sit in a dark house with the soccer and instant coffee.
And then there was the strange little dog, given to us.
Died in the yard
on my mother’s birthday. I found her curled
over the drain and felt the rabbit fur scarf wrapped around my neck. Those eyes
weren’t shut, I backed into the house.
We went to dinner very quiet, at a Chinese restaurant and ate a lot.
For my mother’s 45th.
Born in Singapore, Jee Leong Koh read English at Oxford University and studied Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, New York. His poems have appeared in Singaporean anthologies, and American and British journals such as Crab Orchard Review, The Ledge, Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide and Mimesis. “Mimesis”: His poem “Brother” has been selected by Natasha Trethewey for the Best New Poets 2007 anthology, to be published by the University of Virginia. His chapbook, Payday Loans, has just been published in April 2007, and is available at his blog: http://jeeleong.blogspot.com/. Of this thirty-sonnet sequence on love, work and migration, organized by the month of April, Marie Howe says, “Cash in your paycheck and buy this book.”
Valentine to Volume
More than a point in time, more than a line
from first to second date, more than a plane
of three coordinates – the groin, the brain,
the heart beating the amplitude of sine;
but less, much less, than the amassed incline,
the spike of rock, the muttering hoofs on plain,
on hatless scalps the drumming of the rain,
less than the density of years’ design
measures your body, after we have played,
not by the glistening mesh of pubic hair,
nor the mechanical springhook of knee,
not on the golden scales of shoulderblades,
but in the bathtub of my body, where
displaced water makes a discovery.
Lachine Canal, Montreal
To China through the northwest corridor,
through blasted passages, ice-crusted tides,
to reach the dragon-guarded shore,
the argosy of afternoon light rides
and disappears. Upriver, the fur trade
boomed, and busted land agreements reached
by bog trappers and royal maids
whose children pedal down in boats and, beached,
sleep singly or in twos. In my head, grass,
green toothpicks, pricks the back of my eyelids
to picture this carnal bypass
aslant the clenched black rocks spitting rapids.
Bright Admiral, my expeditious force,
command this rented tandem kayak, share
an hour of my eunuch course,
unscroll us through white arches of the air.
from Fire Island
7. Fire Island
It came to me days after my return
from the island,
the real ending,
the resolution of this brief resort
to old symbols, experience, of a sort,
and, most of all, memory’s cold, calm burn.
Staring into memory’s eyes, I saw
then the island,
and on a towel small as a handkerchief
my hollow body sleep, no joy, no grief
like a swan’s wingbone tossed up on the shore.
The beach, burning up the air, was empty,
sucked me to it,
to the body
and I entered it. I opened my eyes
and I knew something that rises and flies
from the Ocean had penetrated me.
I am no small matter. There is an ease
in a gold helm,
with a gold shield,
that tells me I’m born to overthrow gods,
born to whistle till night comes and the cold
land gives up its ghost like a steady breeze.
from Talk About New York
… I prefer to absorb whatever I see, take in the sights. It’s like if I talk, I’m afraid I will lose
whatever I am trying to keep in my heart.
There was a Chinese garden in the garden of
my memory: paper lanterns flying to the moon-
shaped entrance to an artificial, green lagoon
reflecting the pagodas and lotuses above.
Perhaps I fell in the lake after you said you cried
on seeing Hangchow’s bridges span its wide canals.
Perhaps a Chinese garden forms in all locales
where past and present, hurrying to meet, collide.
Perhaps. The fact sticks it to me that I was wrong.
Also mistook your hotel’s name, Pennsylvania,
for my Peninsula, my metropolismania
programmed to build a city where I may belong.
But you were staying in Penn’s Woods, and in the Bronx
we strolled through local forest the geography
teacher in you explained when asked – canopy,
understory and floor – , then glimpsed two quick chipmunks
scuttling into the shrubs. Cheeky reminder that
we weren’t home climbing Bukit Timah, leading the way
for students, playing parents for less than a day,
recognizing the will of the brownnose or brat.
You paused, and read from a botanical park sign:
that tree, a pine-like species, was deciduous –
a fact that contradicted the world known to us
who thought that every conifer was evergreen.
We walked on, slightly changed, around the real estate
camouflaged by daylily and rose gardens. Dazed
by the noon sun to silence, we walked on, amazed,
before our bodies caught up with us at the gate.
Lorraine Marwood has three collections of poetry published with Five Islands Press- the first Skinprint in 1996 and the last two collections Redback Mansion 2002 and that downhill yelling 2005 both for children. Her first verse novel ratwhiskers and me will be published by Walker in 2008 and her latest book The girl who turned into treacle is an Aussie Nibbles with Penguin 2007. Lorraine loves taking poetry workshops with schools, writes techniques regularly for Literature Base, and has just returned from a month’s creative residency in Adelaide with the May Gibbs Literature Trust, to write a second verse novel. She lives in Central Victoria with her husband and most of her six children have now left home.
Stretched on the lounge room floor
I coloured overalled American farmers,
patches on their knees and holding pitchforks
(my dad never had these)
and fine feathered roosters,
(our chooks had no male company).
I coloured an old tractor,
a prancing horse and sunflowers
that nodded eyes and mouths
like farmer’s daughters all in a regular
We were farmer’s daughters
so I sketched in the flies
and the motes of chook dust,
even the rats that stole between the earthen
chook pen floors and the sacks of pellets
my father piggy-backed,
and wondered if ours could be called
a farm at all;
after all I’d coloured beyond
the mass-produced lines.
The years have pouches,
saddlebags for camel skin.
I know this as the sepia sweep
from the photograph
helps me brush across my grandfather’s
chin, to pause beneath the sphinx shade
to reach my hand along desert lines,
sword cuts, crisscrossed railway
lines, meanderings and cul de sacs.
The prairie cheeks have harvest
stubble, rough and sharp as thistle
blades. My grandfather turns
his head, the deep shade makes
me tumble and I see the furrows
that his travelling years have made,
the quick shuffle between farmer
and soldier, the scramble for
a horizon, like riding the dawn beach
on his own farm horse
with the pebbles of men floating
out to sea. I try and climb
along that rough prairie plane,
try to climb for the eyes, but
my grandfather pulls his hat
back over his brow
and all I have is a sepia hood,
a strong sphinx man looking
to horizon, always horizon
searching for his Anzac men.
Kate Vinen is a writer and director whose most recent short film, ‘Rebecca’, is due for completion in 2007. She is also a singer/songwriter and poet. Her poem ‘The Last Swim of Summer’ was short listed for the 2006 Wet Ink Poetry Prize. Her biggest inspirations are wild places and wild men.
The Search Party
My mouth has been this dry before,
White lipped and deathly dry,
But from a different kind of walking
Where your body was the path
And your heart the destination.
If there was a way back
I would lose it to the land;
The crumbs of love
Are hiding under canopies
That never let the sunlight in.
Few words were exchanged
But so much was spoken;
One is a language to unlearn
That places the future in settings
Amongst alpine grasses
And flannel flowers.
Everything is hidden or exposed,
Nothing just is
And still they search for me;
Bush has been tracked
For the body that never surfaces.
There is no one to blame now that
Mr. Sin is dead;
But she swears, sin never dies.
The sights he and I saw
And the roads disappear.
I looked down from the peak
Of the mountain
To find more mountains
Below, and understood
My loss is everyone’s loss,
And on Waterfall Way
The granite outcrop
Hid our dealings from the day.
The feeling, I remember
Between a rock and a hard place.
There is your blood.
There is my blood.
There is our blood together.
The Last Swim of Summer
Our first swim was the last swim of summer.
You said I needed boys that
Smelt like the sea;
Now that they are gone
And you are right
Memories lurk down by the wooden boats.
Things I didn’t know about;
I hate not knowing everything.
It is a reminder that the world exists without me,
That I am not a part of everything.
If only I had known then
You can only romanticise something when it’s gone,
Like some kind of consolation prize for your loss.
I will shut my eyes, open my legs
And view the world as I see it.
I find myself wishing there was only one place
I had ever known you
So I could destroy it.
There are too many places that have part of me.
We drove back the following night and you said
We had won
And I knew by you saying it that we hadn’t.
Yeow Kai Chai is the author of two poetry collections, Pretend I’m Not Here (2006) and Secret Manta (2001).He co-edits the online journal, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He is also the deputy editor of the arts and lifestyle section in Singapore’s The Straits Times, where he reviews music and writes pop-culture commentaries.
Red and Blue
The accessory, zipped up,
awaits the blink-off.
Redacted, this could
just end up one jet-lagged lyre.
Keep soul, big stuff in the overhead
administration, says trolley dolly.
Here is what is: a suspicious package
with attendant implications.
It’s none of my personal vertex,
but we’re psyched for another
sexy spin, another hook
to hang civilisation on, like Equator.
Beyond allotted legroom,
degree of reclination and those
damp hot towels, we rise
and fall, aside from such plenitude,
terminal or tarnation.
Gazing out this sentimental window
into pitch dark, yanking soul
out of you . . . to winnow these aisles
or suffuse every spore . . .
that’s what it should do, shouldn’t it?
If he can’t quite define it,
what hope the rest of us?
It isn’t the blue dress,
which doesn’t lie. It’s in the bag.
It is. Don’t get me wrong –
I like righteous peanuts and hot towels
that come all over my face,
the subject already taxiing
to a softly tick and what’s that slipping
from its side? A whiff? It’s time.
Hold that nip while the gentlest,
quietest one casually pulls a tiny red pin.
Quarterly Report No. 4: Pachinko Parlour Vending Machine
a reggaeton pantoum
Biorhythm pulsate baby crave
Slot plastic token slit
Pop David apple diorama
Tip on Renaissance palindrome
Slot Hoboken plastic slit
Karaoke queen light koan
Spit on Renaissance palindrome
Baby love caw macaw
Karaoke queen light kaftan
Secretary bird wind toy
Baby love paw macaque
Cool duck pop placebo
Secretary dirge toy boy
Work Geylang parlour breeze
Cool duck put Kanebo
Now perfect tongue service
Ice cream parlour breeze
Impostor take on hyperrealist
Now defect Foreign Service
Doppelganger slip crash mirror
Impostor take aurora borealis
Reverse phat spin lips
Doppelgänger slap dash traitor
Ream gleam soda fizz
Reverse fat pink slips
Drink up silver chalice
Ream gleam Lola fizz
Game for it kissogram
Drink up silly heiress
Pop Babel juicy melisma
Dame kiss o Gran
Biorhythm pulsate babbling slave
Gold In Them Trees
Gold my woebegone gill
In rays fill such lustrous haze
Them everything but these
Trees where no human will
Andrew Slattery is a Communications graduate from The University of Newcastle. His poems have appeared in literary journals, newspapers, magazines throughout Australia, Europe, North America and Asia. His awards include the Henry Kendall Poetry Award, the Roland Robinson Literary Award, and the Val Vallis Poetry Award. He lives in Berlin.
The River Winter
It’s no use counting water with time
if it’s going to freeze up every year,
solid from bank to bank, the river set
flush with the surrounding plains
of ground snow. And don’t rely on heat –
the sun is an alloy of silica and static blue.
Floating branches have stilled
and now shadow the surface
like the underveins of a cloud.
The river is an allegory, better than most –
universal and exacting; an ice-tray; die-cast
in element season; depth indeterminate.
A group of deer stroll across the river,
seeming not to raise their knees, but to skate
the surface, to maintain a share of weight.
The river turns like a worn claw.
The river is a box of jammed water;
neither flowing nor permanent.
The babydeer trips on a rift where a stream
moves contra to the main riverline;
where meltwater slows and forms along the pelt
of seamed ice. The deer holds to its hoary legs,
steadies the cardinal point of its mind and shifts
orderly across this neither land nor water.
Before dawn, little girls play with knives,
walk over the grass still grey with damp
before a sun swells the ground and all
the living in it. Two girls out with paring knives,
at dawn – you’d think a play duel was afoot!
Every Saturday before breakfast, two girls out
with an undertaking to collect the dead,
or those close to it. After Dad sprayed
the night before. “Off me vines yer little bastards!”
He’d long-lobbied to kill them en masse.
“Bloody pests!” as he swivels his bald-mad eyes,
a persistent “pink pink pink…,” a thin “peeeeeeee”
and a low “tuc tuc tuc” send him running
down the grape rows with his rifle
shooting black rocks or any spot on his eye
that puts a blackbird in his mind. So most are dead
by dawn if the spray has got to their hearts.
The girls are civil mystics and farewell
the last star to blip off the sky.
Before dawn it’s as still as a seed;
everything sharp clicks the air. Like the snakes
which have been out all night, slimming along
the trellis channels under the vines, the girls
have exacted their process. They pick off
any beetles around wounds and openings,
lift off the wing bars, the upper-tail covers
and unclip the wishbone from their shoulders.
See the way the tendon lifts like a string
from the underside; the way their thumbs fit
neat in the cupola bone behind the eyes.
In winter, they hear the blackbirds
quietly “singing to themselves.”
This is their sub-song. They marvel
at tinybird architecture and how such quiet things
once made sky circles. The blackbird plays
a boxwood flute. When they find the air sac
it’s better than a boring chicken’s wishbone –
you can push the sac and see
if there’s any song left in it. The stitchbird’s
glomera bone brings luck in fives. They peel back
the duffled barbs, remove the pinions and fold
the wing back under the body, tie it with string
and clean their hands on the dewy watergrass.
They’re planning a whole day for the blacks
nested in the upland mangrove nooks
to listen for tacit coos in cavities and lowed stumps.
They imagine dismantling the head of an owl
and locating the hoots in its standing frame.
Or to the sea – the steep cliff sucks the grey sea
up against its chest, the young nested against the cliffs,
out of reach from the rats. For today, they are done,
they fondle the oddments deep in their pockets
and follow the horse-path home. At night they lie
on the blue grass. Around their ankles
are amulets made from birdfeet tied end to end,
scratching their skin “tuc tuc tuc.” If they hold
the tiny birdskulls up to any-shaped moon, look
through the eye sockets and there’s always
a round moon. The great distance between stars
contains the eye. They will grow up to farm the stars,
not in clean rows but thrown up like random seeds.
You can sharpen a tailbone to its quill-end
to draw a white bird on the night, or hold
longer wingbones up to the stars like a scaffolding
to the spotted flue; join them horizontal
as if collecting the universe in armature.
Jill Jones’s latest books is Broken/Open (Salt, 2005), which was short-listed for The Age Book of the Year 2005, and three chapbooks: Fold Unfold (Vagabond, 2005). In 2003 her fourth book, Screens, Jets, Heaven: New and Selected Poems, won the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize. She has collaborated with photographer Annette Willis on a number of projects. She has been a film reviewer, journalist, book editor and arts administrator.
What Is This?
While we’re talking light passes, though it’s easy to ignore
its radiant shift. We’re neither passengers nor eternal,
though we trip on each other’s recall, there’s another history
being rearranged in shades drawn on ground.
I say, it’s how you think in circles, wanting to merge rather than mark.
(The four corners of a centre tremble as they touch space.)
Our argument may ignite small layers or return to its great elasticity,
it’s no more than extending a mirror into the existence of zero.
But I can do nothing unless I lose my own track in land that made the curve
neither fleeting nor continuing, but always shown on ground.
Here are the difficulties – of clusters, pebbles, mind moon, that great
vacant sign, an eternal jewel, the head’s empty bucket, containing
all things, yet without rearranging itself within clarity’s blue shadow.
The light of your fingers skin under sky.
– after Lightpool series, Salvatori Gerardi
Matching Colours In a Flame
Is it the way silence peels away the hours
or light inches too near to death?
(It gets closer to take hold of my hands)
I will not worry over the heat
but go out into the angle of a demand.
How a door shouts or afternoon is lacking
when meanings double and nights increase
or clouds break your face, imperfect and happy.
City birds are living on their coast
of roads and industrial cranking
among the blinking dive of motors.
It’s all leaky rather than transparent
like the earth hum’s low and constant herz.
An unknown screech comes
from middle distance
and means little from a window
even if you’re well.
There’s been turnover since the shooting
the café now sells furniture
and amongst papaya, cardboard boxes
limp greens on pallets, the pickings
are as daily as the leaded and diesel
descending those old forgotten miles
above. In the midst
here’s king pigeon, sparrows, starlings
the old world rubbish sticking
in the claw, buggy feathers and shit splat
dodging all the colour of skies.
And parrots hang from spring
when ancient honey
sings within a callistemon’s
brief and red hours.
Ravi Shankar is Associate Professor and Poet-in-Residence at Central Connecticut State University and the founding editor of the international online journal of the arts, Drunken Boat. He has published a book of poems, Instrumentality (Cherry Grove), named a finalist for the 2005 Connecticut Book Awards and co-authored a chapbook with Reb Livingston, Wanton Textiles (No Tell Books). His creative and critical work has previously appeared in such publications as The Paris Review, Poets & Writers, Time Out New York, The Massachusetts Review, Fulcrum, McSweeney’s and the AWP Writer’s Chronicle, among many others. He has taught at Queens College, University of New Haven, and Columbia University, where he received his MFA in Poetry. He has appeared as a commentator on NPR and Wesleyan Radio and read his work in many places, including the Asia Society, St. Mark’s Poetry Project and the National Arts Club. He currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Connecticut Center for the Book and along with Tina Chang and Nathalie Handal, is co-editing an anthology of contemporary South Asian, East Asian Poetry, due out with W.W.Norton & Co. in Spring 2008.
Under date palms and a towering gopuram
studded with carvings of deities in acrobatic
sexual congress, it’s almost easy to overlook
the dark, mustached mahout in khaki shorts
leaning against a crooked stick, murmuring
in Malayalam to the ornamented purveyor
of blessings beside him, bedecked in marigolds
spirals of white paint outlining wistful eyes
and plummeting down a trunk that swings
to pluck a rupee from the devout, to bless
the bent-headed. In one practiced motion,
the prodigiuos converted into the propitious.
Jeweled egg in the middle of a twisting
path tamped down by footfall, darkened
in the shadow of tall pines, I pluck and put
it to my nose. Gradually, like arousal
rousing by degrees, a blunt head extends
from an uncircumcised prepuce to glare
red-eyed at how earth has been removed
from under it, how it flails three-toed
in space, until abruptly, a hinged plastron
snaps shut. Gathering itself in, domed shell
concentrically radiating orange and black
in a mantra: hermetic, tantric, self-reliant.
Such scale manifest in juxtaposition:
like a pod of echolocating whales
fuselages roll, immense, silhouetted
on taxiway tarmac by blue edge lights
and halogen green center reflectors
to aprons serviced by motorised ramps,
fuel trucks, baggage carts, flag wavers,
all turning in synchronicity to words
emitted from the Sphinx-like control
tower. Approaching aircraft moving
from skies through its own length
so progressively, it appears to hover
Todd Swift is one of the leading Canadian poets of his generation (those born since 1960), and his poetry was included in two recent major anthologies of Canadian verse, Open Field (Persea, 2005) and The New Canon (Vehicule, 2005). He is Oxfam GB Poet In Residence and editor of their best-selling poetry CD series, Life Lines and Life Lines 2. He is poetry editor for Nthposition online magazine. He lectures in creative writing and English at the graduate and undergraduate levels at Kingston University, and teaches at Birkbeck and The Poetry School, in London. He has edited many international anthologies, such as Short Fuse (Rattapallax, 2002) and 100 Poets Against The War (Salt, 2003). His own poetry has been published by DC Books in four collections, most recently Winter Tennis (2007). He is co-editor of the major new study of contemporary English Quebec poetry, Language Acts (Vehicule, 2007). His poems have appeared widely in such journals as Agenda, Cimarron Review, The Guardian, Jacket, London Magazine, The Manhattan Review, New American Writing, Poetry Review, and The Wolf. His reviews appear widely, in places such as Books in Canada, The Globe and Mail, and Poetry London. He is doing his PhD at the University of East Anglia, where he also took his MA in Creative Writing.
Badge me and badger me,
Catch me and calliper my skull,
Suck out the phonemes, sip
The allomorphs. Automata, loci,
Imprudent, implants… put me on
Compound parade and glue
My ablative: stick a synthetical vowel
Up the lexical layer with a trowel
But build that system with interplay.
The Unidentified Man
So I went down to the fence where the jobs were,
Put my face against the wire, and yowled Hire me
To the boss-men whose job it was to hire two men,
When around me stood maybe two hundred men;
My hands gripped the wire, framing my yowling,
Too clean by half. I wanted to have something to do,
You see, in your world. The gates parted for no one
I knew. All I did was have a small way with words,
Of no use to the high chimneys that smoked above us,
To hang on the old tree where language yellowed.
Two men came and lugged me low, inside the gate,
Dropped my body in with the slow horses for meat.
To sing fado
is to open the barn door
before the horses.
Singing fado is to set water
spinning so it tires the storm.
Fado means teaching fire
to climb itself in flame, a rope.
Fado throws the wind away,
kisses the stars farewell
in night’s lost stairwell.
To sing fado
is knowing love’s torn dress
sold to sailors to buy
back your heart’s secret share.
Fado is leaving
nothing on your nakedness.
Fado is touch singing to skin.
Map Of Love
You are not on my map of love, you said
And I the cartographer of all things lived,
The device so curled and aged it had faded.
Sweep away those pins and flags, heart,
And come here to divide these spoils
On this bed where we surround and fall,
Fighting our way out of poppy fields
Consensual as battle, squabbling over power
Or Nepal. The answer is we’re artists or lovers
Pursuing night’s cherries in a spring campaign.
Judith Beveridge has published three books of poetry all of which have won major prizes: The Domesticity of Giraffes (Black Lighting Press 1987); Accidental Grace, (UQP, 1996) and Wolf Notes (Giramondo Publishing, 2003). She is the poetry editor of Meanjin. In 2005 she was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal for excellence in literature. She currentlyteaches poetry at post-graduate level at the University of Sydney and at post-graduate and undergraduate level at the University of Newcastle. She has edited UQP’s The Best Australian Poetry 2006 as well as co-edited anthologies from the Newcastle Poetry Prize, Sunweight (2005) and The Honey Fills the Cone (2006).
There is a fish called flower of the wave
and a fish called the hardyhead. There is
the parrotfish, the pineapple fish, the boarfish
the bullhead shark. There’s the rough flute
mouth, the toothy flathead, the two spot
bristle tooth and the yellow sabretooth blenny.
At night I study. At night I learn sixty-two
types of wrasse. I learn there’s the glass fish,
the globe fish, the goat fish and an eastern
and southern gobble guts, both left-eyed
and right-eyed flounders, a rhinoceros
file fish, a racoon butterfly fish, a grub fish,
a tear-drop sleeper goby, a robust pygmy
star-gazer and a half and half puller. There’s
a fish called happy moments. But I haven’t
found it yet. I haven’t found the right one.
The name I can throw back at Davey when
in a voice flat as oil, he calls me: “sweetlips”.
Despite a headache, stationary all day, unable to decay;
despite these reels ticking again into the gradient
of each throb; my eyes feeling as fragile as snow-domes
in the hands of a fractious child; my head grading all
the grains of sand shunted southwards again by a week
of black katabatic winds; despite the yachts tinkling,
calling like knives on goblets for silence as the tide
dumps another load of kelp around my head – I feel
happy, calm; and for a moment I love the feel of hessian
weather on my arms and legs. I love being with Davey
who smells like an old fish trough, stubble on his chin
sharp as wrasse’s teeth. I love the lighthouse on the cliff-top
as it holds the stupefied position of a pocket chesspiece.
I know another distress flare might soon find its passage
through the nerves my head manipulates, that an onshore
of jagged air push isobars back; that lightning’s filamented
pulse rig more cordage for my head. I know the veins
in my head will tighten, distort, bend again like lines
trying to dislodge a snag, that nausea will head for a dry
berth in my throat – but now, I fix my bait, spit out my beer
as if it had become as tasteless as the brackish Baltic
and I reel my line in. I know the creels must come in despite
blood on the charts, the pounding of cruel encephalitic winds.
I drag the rod back, it arcs like a dolphin scudding on its tail,
and I’m happy, calm, fishing again here with Davey.
We’re almost doing the limbo bringing our lines in.