Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Friday, December 10, 2004

Deck the Shoals (2003)

Three dread cups I
have tasted in my thirst
for you: white and green
red islands spread
across the night’s
deep and darkest blue,
shoals which held me
in such thrall I
threw my arms, my
seed, my every song
though nothing could
hold you very long.
Each time you sighed
and faded in an
archetypal mist,
a dawnlike saturate
tearing sky from sea.
Image, if you will,
a sprig of holly on a
bough ladened with
snow: cold white starch
surrounds the three
sharp leaves, their
dark almost gray green
color a bower to
the three red
berries which are
perilous to dream
and poison to consume.
There is a late 15th-
Century tapestry
series from the Netherlands
called “The Hunt of
the Unicorn.”
Here is love’s silk
Gundestrup; the gods
woven there command
the view, but none
may hold for long
the the fabled beast
with the soft blue
eyes and pale long horn.
In the mortificatio
of my divine lust
I’ve whiled away the
years, in one ordeal
or another on her
many, complicate beds.
The holly sprig
appears in a panel
called “The Unicorn
Leaps from the Stream,”
and it reminds me
of how I began and
rowed and still am.
Son, my mother
once told me as I
was pushing off from
home to ride the
El downtown to see
my father with a
telescope in tow --
to watch the stars,
I said, though really
it was because he
lived next to the
Playboy Tower in
Chicago -- David, she
said, there’s more to
life than a bed, a babe,
and a bottle of booze.
Full throttle I set out
to prove her right
in love’s drifting wood,
chasing that dream
purity who wears
the holly crown.
I have been Love’s
monk and exile and
crucified son, scourged
and oared and nailed
by my desire: yet
none of it much helped
to pen the pale beast
within Your breasts.
It always hooved
free, leaping every
fence or moat
or couplet I could
devise to circle off
the drowse. Always
the sad ellipse three
times punctuating
the hallows of that
kiss which smiles
and fades away
and leaves me standing
here at the shore
once again with
nothing more to show
than another blue
soul-stain between
all these lines,
one more salt reminder
that I forever will
remain at this.
I keep standing here
searching an endless
surf for that one
repeating door to
widen once again
inside a wave’s
aquamarine hiss,
holding high this
holly sprig, closing
my eyes, parting
my lips to receive
once again the
deep draught of
her triune, crashing
bliss. Wait ...


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