Sunday, November 30, 2014

Impressions of Decadent Sea

I.
Morning comes like tiger stripes
     to flap upon the swells like gulls
          in agate clouds below the deck
               atop a seething sea,
Where phantom fins in weedy skeins
     rope through the tinsel sheen
          as if on mystery feeding.

The sea protects its fishes,
     makes every gleam of sun seem jumping life
          to shimmer in mid-air like rising stars
               as if this heaven isn't really there.
Then the ocean lightens
     from cloud openings of blue, to express,
          without meaning to, something of the secret

Of these restless peaks, that drive
     like ordered armies, how they
          send out tribal lines as one
               long irritation of current
Across the deep blue monochrome
     forever torn by white and wrinkled black
          like slackened fabric pulled forever tight.


II.
The waves smooth out by afternoon
     from sunlight's white steam iron,
          wool brushed to burnished pearl
               that swirls with impossibility,
That the water never stops its churn
     in honor of our mind
          listing in the golden light, side to side.

But the blue sky lets the blue sea
     darken back to mystery:
          it's but the play on water brows of light
               that makes us speculate there's something there;
It could be veins of coal,
     obsidian sun sharpened
          for all we know, as we move along alone.

From our pirate masque we call the clouds
     macabre across the Baja,
          and in between the thing we call the void,
               a kind of mirror on the unseen.
All the ocean has of us
     is that light shining back
          as a momentary hope.


III.
The blue grows bolder as it slips
     across the dying sun, become a dome,
          a dish, a hovering saucer
               before her last light twinkles above water
And sky spreads hues of purple-rose
     and peach-skin lavender
          while the sea below stays blue and undisturbed

Save its endless agitation
     as it drifts to neither yield nor connect
          just persist, overcoming
               what no longer has a bearing
Or a path. We cross what has no voice
     or face, just sound and sight bereft
          just like our longing.

Man-made lamp on inky whirl,
     fish scales rise against the spiral,
          all we want imposed on ocean
               as imposture;
All the implications are a circle
     banging round our brains
          as all we have.


IV.
The morning shows compassion
     as the sea serves pewter kindness
          like runny eggs and grapefruit
               with a joyous cherry top.
The blue is calm, like sails pulled on
     by a flock of invisible wings
          to what we'd consider a port-of-call,

A form for plastic ocean
     in the yoke strap of the human
          seeking purpose, finding meaning
               in emotion instant come
Like beads of sun off of the swells
     that, though impossible to know, we intone
          a kind of prayer to, of actual accord,

Of hidden lace to make a gift
     we can't unwrap, imprisoned
          by the self that scintillates
               in an undulating garbage bag...
But kindness comes, somehow, again,
     when a dolphin breaks the plane
          to children squealing.


V.
No succor, just transcendence;
     brain strands pulse in milky plumes,
          continually collide
               without consequence,
Just shears of sea expressing,
     as the weight bears languidly away,
          rainbow spray from white-capped frosting.

A rolling boil of blue, adjusting,
     sends would-be shapes back to the void,
          all the unborn shores and fields and mountains
               for us, it seems, to know
In the moment they are gone:
     the blue translucent dunes,
          the bolts of sapphire sun.

Smoke appears along the sea
     like a Portuguese Man-of-war
          and the waves dissolve in nebulous mist
               that hits the deck like tea-kettle steam
Releasing every vision back to white,
     which clears to fresh nothingness, born-again sea
          as if to ask how long now can we stay free?

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