Rhyme of Iron | Oak and Bone

Drift, wood.

Moist and watered flesh,
his breaths in gulps in gasps
in a shell-shocked horizon.

His blood dries in a corner
coagulated, thickly
spread, iron seasoning.
Where grasped the sailor
who grasps no longer?

He lolls like an ocean’s log, lips
encrusted,
eyes, encrusted shut.
A summertime adagio.

Drift, wood.
to the point where the blue
changes hue
and knifepoints states of matter.

For matters of sapien state
equate
not to your blood and slivered rust
but ashes,
coffin, settled dust.

Drift, wood. Along the pier,
a disappointed bridge
where an old writer’s eyes
bleed the world into a word.

And he will notice red,
eyes widen like a gunshot,
hands quiver, heart
bounce
then settle still,
silent, timeless, dead.

They’ll call you Old Age,
(murderer),
and you will drift
in Brueghel brushstrokes,
lost,
a rotting mortal memory.

O, you remnant,
a forgotten ghost
carrying what remains
the one that whispers to you,
the corpse on your spine
salted to your body,
snapped, slap, an ocean wave.

Does his shadow drive you insane?
the sailor with
a mother
who watches for you
in her shell-shocked horizon
breathes in gulps in gasps
and smells his tears in the breeze

The churches will chime
for the heavy tolls you’ve exacted
from the stowaway and the metaphor.

They will
knell with fury
but not for you.

Drift, wood.
May you never make their crumbling shore.

 

Note: “A pier is a disappointed bridge; yet stare at it for long enough and you can dream it to the other side of the channel.” – Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot.

Inspired by Alan Moore’s Tales Of The Black Freighter.

A poem with similar themes: Supplication by Constantine Cavafy.

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