I come from a ship in terror
I’m waiting for the tidal waves to sink.
I picked out a shirt for the trip
that made it look like I had money
so the other passengers would treat me like a real person.
It’s more fun to look for dolphins when no one is afraid of you.
I keep looking for seagulls but can’t find any
their high hysterics sound like the slow passage of time
and looking at the sky above the ocean
with eyes washed out with the light in clouds at
life as it should be.
I keep looking for them,
but I can’t find any flying or calling anywhere.
And the white columns lining the deck around the ship make it look like a floating Roman Coliseum and we’re crucifying Jesus all over again,our messiahs are riding into Jerseulam for Palm Sunday everyday.The guard rail is a beach towel drying that already looks like a picture in your scrapbook.The gift shop is a chapel and I saw the ghosts of crew members on many sunken ships down on their knees and praying by the sterling silver anchor necklaces, the souvenir maps, the books on the local history of islands.
I got a pocket full of paper words
and I’m playing go fish in the cabin
the ship’s wheel is not really wooden,even though they have one hanging up behind glass in the lobby. I saw you making your kids stand in front of it with you for a picture and your facebook friends are going to think your margarita salt bites. The mexican mermaid housekeepers are leaving gold coins right where you were standing.
The stars above are specks of salt in the ocean of night sky.
The winds are screeching against the deck in the dark
and I think I may jump in them.
The seawater is black moon shine imported from below the Gulf. Old Joanne moved down there in March. She became a thriftstore impersonator and was never heard from again.
Lil Injun Dickey is writing nutrition facts for orange peels and tossing them on the cafeteria floor. The naked old men in the steam room are trying to talk to each other like they have big fat cigars in their mouths, even though all they got in there are those complimentary white towels that are always a little too small. I’m going for a swim in the pool. Meet you later for dinner? I think it’s Polynesian Saturday.
The sun looks like an orange soda fizzling over the afternoon sky. Delicious red apples, the 50 something crochet lady brought them from home. They’re part of her lunch sitting on her towel by her beachbag. Her straw hat makes her look like somebody you don’t quite notice is there. The woman tanning next to me has little tornado curls all through her hair and she keeps using them to try to push her husband off the side of the boat.
She is a bleached out blonde, like infinite sun on the beach.
We made love once under the bar, long after last call.
And she smiled starlight when she was happy
and she kissed like she didn’t know.
Gambling up on the veranda. If you hit the jackpot you win a trip to 1812 on a riverboat where you’ll be gambling there forever. Walking the plank or sinking on this ship is as destitute as it should be when you know everybody’s already heard about the Titanic’s story. I heard the best part about drowning is a few fathoms down, your tongue explodes and everything starts to taste like heaven again. If the standup comic they hired says “This carnival cruise is a circus” again we’re going to take him out in the alley behind the ocean and strangle him with his microphone chord. And If the DJ plays “Born on the Bayou” one more time we’re going to make him beg for his credence clearwater survival. Did they shave your head at the equator or are you just a bald idiot? And remember the bleeding starfish we saw? I wander the ship, wondering if it survived. Out on the lookout, the boy wants your sister and your sister wants his brother, so I guess that just leaves you and me.
We look like the rusty rudder.
We love like the barnacles on the hull.
If you want to cruise you gotta stop swimming against the undertow.
You can ride for free if you agree to partake in their 6 week sea sickness study.
If you catch ocean madness they’ll be afraid and think that you want kill them.
And they don’t want to pay for the medications to make you better either.
The violin girl from the boardwalk in Delaware is here,
with her brown tides of hair
let down across her chest
and she threw her bow over the side.
She’s playing the violin like a grand piano with her long pink fingernails.
Lightning is coming down with every chord
and her hair is whipping up like raucous seaweed.
You watch her sitting indian style because you wanna get struck by a bolt,
and the staff is trying to book her to play the cruise launching next summer.
She hasn’t signed anything yet and they’re handing you a brochure with her picture on it saying “come on down and sail with us again.”
At night we become the coastal scenery
we are the dirt blowing from the palm tree leaves
the highest point on the mountain ranges
being born out of the sea
we become rocks tumbling off the cliffs
you can see our little ripples come in
from the shoreline