Crew (Florida. May 2004.)

The boat lay sprawled on top of the water.  It floated on its back, legs and arms spread limply in all directions.  Each limb had a rower attached to it, up to his knees in swaying water.  I watched as small, listless waves tugged at the shorts of one rower, insisting he wade further from the shore.  They all waited for me to wade closer.  I hadn’t expected to get my feet wet, so my socks filled my upheld hands.

One by one, we slipped into the boat, as the others held it down on its back.  I was last.  We clumsily rocked and hit the oars, sending the hovering boat rocking.  We hesitantly strapped our feet into stationary shoes that did not fit.  We tried to find the right position in which to begin this new skill.  My seat slid back as I attempted to squirm myself into a more natural posture.

The water sloshed around us as we tried to maneuver the large arms and legs extending from the boat.  Four arms and four legs thrashed and splashed in the water, undaintily attempting to move in unison.  The waves sniggered at our irregular rhythm, beating against the boat in a unison we could not achieve.  My arm slapped another arm.

Above, sea gulls circled as if waiting for the thrashing-swimmer boat to drown.  Though it was in no other way obvious, we could see we had moved because the fog now hid the shore.  The sun had made its first appearance rising sleepily from the horizon.  We made all the noise that was on the bay that morning.  I looked to my oar and saw a pelican gliding across the water near us, his beak open in a mocking grin of our ungraceful endeavor.  The sun rose higher.

We tried to just sit still, to find a balance on the boat that could be maintained, but the boat writhed beneath our weight, and attempted to push us of its belly.  We held its arms and legs tighter.  My knuckles began turning white, just from embracing the rod of the oar.

We began again, after our unsatisfying balancing act.  Again the two sets of limbs entwined and were flung about, attempting a dignified dance, but looking misshapen instead.  We sucked in breath and held it intermittedly, trying for a rhythm with each other that seemed unfeasible.  I glared at the back of the rower in front of me.  He was off.

It happened suddenly, and caught us off guard.  The coxswain gasped.  We could not tell whose limbs were whose.

They moved together, slipping into the water and caressing it as it moved against it.

slip…and…slip…and…slip…and…

slip…and…slip…

We moved together, pressing with our thighs and sliding back and forth in unison, pushing against the limbs of the boat.  It glided beneath us.

slip…back…and…slip…back…and…

slip…back…and…

The boat created waves in perfectly timed wrinkles over the skin of the water.  It cooed at us now, the sniggering could no longer be heard.

slip…back…slosh…and…slip…back…slosh…and…slip.

The sun rose higher and warmed us, but the fog remained, confining our sight to our little patch of water.

We moved faster, all our motions in unison.  Large breaths escaped our lungs, chanting together.

slip back slosh blow slip back slosh blow slip back slosh

The shore came back into sight, and together our motions slows.  Our oars dipped into the water, cooling and slowing the boat.

We dragged the hull of the vessel back on shore, lifting together.  We held the boat as it was washed, not minding the water which found its way to our clothes.  Our steps moved in synchrony as we walked home.

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It’s Easier to Date Moon Rocks (Florida. May 2004.)

It’s a strange sort of orbit

the moon takes around the earth,

mesmerized by the amount of light the planet can reflect,

the way it shifts and writhes and is still

learning to be comfortable in its skin,

while the moon is only black rock,

the same trapped-oxygen rock

for three and a half billion years.

 

 

The moon must be ashamed,

because it always maneuvers

itself in such a way

that one side can’t be seen from earth

and when the sun doesn’t hit

the moon just right,

it rotates, its violet rays

can’t be seen at all.

 

 

The Earth has atmospheric clothes

that do their best to keep

its elements stable and it feels

few drops of newness on its crust,

while the moon gets to bathe

in meteor showers, a constant

sprinkling of new elements and it is molded

by each particle of dust that passes.

 

 

It’s easier to date moon rocks.

Striving to be Struck (Prague. Fall 2005.)

I want to grab ahold of lightning, let it char my hands as it sends phosphorescent energy screamingstreaming from my mouth. I want to vomit the blue bolts, leaving spatters of electrical inspiration on sidewalks and toilet seats. I want to be forced to help ’em power you and me, to light lives with impulsive volts. I want to let it grab ahold of me, twisting spidery tentacles across breasts and back, lifting me with its weight. I want to hold your hand all the while, transporting flashes through you, giving life more real than Shelley’s nightmares.

Pieces of my foot (California. Summer 2004.)

 

 

Pieces of my foot

have been falling off for days

small pieces

–hardening themselves

curling to mimic plastic

they boycott the work I force upon them

taking their chances

that seceding from my body will

allow them a better life

they each leave a younger sister

in their place

–tender sprigs of too new life

who yelp each time they are stepped upon

My foot, you see,

is out of place in shoes.

He is used to feeling

free grass between toes

hugged by cold ground

and these boots, well,

they send the skin on my foot

hiking.

When (The Netherlands. Winter 2002.)

When

Even the stars did not know where to stand,

flame filled the void with his partner the frost.

Waiting and teasing, they joined on the brink.

Moving to passionate swirls and then me.

I was alone with a blackness that fell,

speckled by wandering stars.  Nothing green

grew.  Not one shore, sea, nor cooling grey wave

sang the full song of a dying rich life.

I was alone in the dark, not a sound

reached my new ears and the noise of that drove

me to creation.  The sun and the moon,

made from my eyes, from my toes are the trees,

stones from my teeth and my eyelashes, snakes.

Now,

I am not lonely, but I was the first.

Making (The Netherlands. Winter 2002.)

Making

love to god

was only making.

Before there was

night or day

he came to me

and did not make eye contact

while he sculpted

my clay body to form

the mountains, continents, and seas.

I tried not to breath

as he brushed

ant hills off my stomach

and trimmed me,

leaving trees only

where they looked best.

He still had not spoken

when, finally

content with my form,

he made

and he left

me silently,

to give birth.

The jackal was first.

Though I knew he was not

pleased, god returned,

always pruning,

never speaking.

I bore turtles and fish,

snakes and lions, and

man.

I’ve stopped waiting for his return, but

his marks are still on my mountains and seas.