Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oran's Hell (2003)

Lots of dead folks down
there: Drowned sailors
from the Pequod,
Graubelle men pitched
in peat, explorers trapped
in low caves, their
bone knapsacks spilled
of their booty: Musicians
and alchemists and
architects who built
towers that drowned
when they died:
Revenants stuck in mortal
error, a legion of pere
Hamlets stuck in the frosty
hours before dawn
with all their sins unconfessed
sighing swear ... swear
in their sons’ moody ears:
My father’s St. Oran bell tower
is the reverse of this Well:
His tower is forever without
a roof, open to the sky, stars,
jets, moon: No bottom here
either folks, just new heads
rising in the depths: Oran’s
sinister skull, yodeling Orpheus,
the Green Knight’s noggin
with its nougat of spleen:
Women and children too went
overboard here: My mother’s
voice over me on my first
drowning beach: Paula my first love
who at 3 played topless in the
wading pool down the block
& led me into big woods in
search of worms:
The girl of my fancy who fell
into a pond and would have
drowned had I not jumped in
and saved her: That early
fantasy was such a thrall, I’d
place my face on a pillow
& squirm my hips to the
narrative: I thought I rescued
her but she still calls from
the thralls below: The girl
on the playground holding
my forget-me-not bouquet for
one perfect second before
she snarled & tossed it back
First kisses, first feels, that
first shock of nakedness &
the squeeze of pussy walls:
The heart’s descent in that
down down down down down
till I drowned say Halleloo!
Loves lost due to youth
& idiocy, who walked away
or were left sleeping in their
beds: Big loves of fantasy,
& bigger loves that were real:
wives, a daughter, cats:
Ogres, too, the Man in the Car
& the Girl in the Woods &
The Four Dread Legacies
of Song, Sodomy, Burnt
Fiddles, Divorce: That naughty
drunk trapped in a bottle five
fathoms down: Big fists beating
the bejezus outta me: Errant
blades and can-lids and guitar
strings splicing deeper my split
fingertips: A bricolage of words
stewed from the hair of Homer,
cock of Ovid, heart of Chaucer,
saucer-eyes of Will, Spenserian
ears, tongue a la Joyce: All the
the shadows they cast deep
beneath every letter of every word
in infernal resonance:
On and on the inventory of souls,
all now insubstantial & yet killingly
potent: Distant and watery hands
knock on the bucket as it rises
from Oran’s bourne to burn here,
bones tossing in a ring or token stone,
praying to me to sing of them,
sing loud of the blood’s toll
in this drowned abbey of soul.


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