Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Shipping Out

Sweet pine, callous hands caress your curves, carved to upsweep rough, then polished smooth, to prows with fierce faces ... Floorboards, the dipping deck, the swaying sea in dock ... A ship, shoresmen-built to meet the other side, to dare the waves, to touch the long expanse of solitude and find oneself, alive, alien, in the cold breeze. A heart scarred on land cured in the cut of cold upon the waters. I am shipping out. The fleet may take me. This sailor's livery asks embrace of the wide open, the brine, let me skim and dip above the fishes' bed. For I would fiercely ribbon o'er the rolling roads the whales ride. I have need. Love came out the sea, I return to sea, to find my source in alien hands, strange creatures, fins, unknown coastlines. The sea seemed better than suicide : a venture, a dare, the great beyond. One might be swallowed. And yet ... one might find precisely what one was looking for, in strange form. Do I escape? The sea is merciful, his masculine arms welcome my human impulse, full of rough love and beckoning. I hear the call. Some kiss of a forbidden woman, beyond my tribe, strange eyes, a soothing hand, a never-seen port, perhaps never to see again. Spices uncanny, hidden sacks of gold, customs uncouth from my cruel kithsmen. Smooth bosom of wood, knotted, gnarled beams within you, many man-hands made, manhandled, thrown upon the salt and drear, made to ride. Sweet whale of woody oak and pine, be mine, extend thy cotton, billowed hands, and give me leave to come on board. The soles of these shoes shall kiss you with every step. Eyes long so lacrymal to bold behold how far beyond horizons rolling fountains, briny, fall. They say you are stormy, sea, yet no more so than those held icy in breast-coffers, the sour treasures false hearts share. Allure my saline-burnéd eyes with prizes true and unexpected : full is the hoard-heap of the deep. Let me give vow to my mates and be crew-collected : my rough and vulgar brothers, sons of ocean's lure, shall be my kin upon this billowed, wind-blown house. A better house than most. Fine, for trees have never had a better grave, an honored tombstone made of very own woodflesh, formed to float and taste the wild bracken of the shark-yards. I have heard their teeth are sharp, the sharks. A sailor showed me once a polished one. O let me twine the retted fibre, writhed from flax and unsmooth jute, to web the twisted strands whose hands shall grasp and hold the fish below. I'll pull it up to harvest us the cheese-like flesh of fish for breakfast. Oil painting on the waves : the dash of hurled hue of flame upon the all-surrounding, warbling mirror : sunrise. Have you seen her golden hands stretch out above the waves as rise to slow-ascend the glassy bridge above? A thousand thank-you's shimmer smiles of light upon the dancing waters. These far-away eyes say I am yours, O sea, for I belong alone where no one e'er belongs, the long and lonely tossing track of starfish. Steed of stocky fir, accept this sailor's saddle, I have need for hooves that touch the gentle, stirréd foam. I have need for home beyond the shores, where floors are shaking looking glasses showing me the skies and sparkling stars beyond. O merciful lord of Noah's town, the fluid, lovely flood, alive me wake upon thy decks of holy ark. I'm shipping out.


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