Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sea-Yolk (Jan. 9, 2005)

O what winds arrived
when you broke my heart,
ferrying me with so dark
and brilliant hands
to those strange new
islands where I began
at last! Slapped awake
then left to row on,
I considered at last my
insufficient means,
the manhood I’d
grown which knew only
nights of sodden waste,
to shore my hips the
only goal worth jailing
my spirit in. And then you
left and the whole world
broke, flooding me with
that yoke which creeps
slow and thickly, like a blood,
around a harrowed now
hallow shore. I considered
growing up to become the
man you found me so
sketchily named, my salt
good for one hard wave
but too scant for any
sustaining tide, a boy
who knew the way to
bed but clueless in
the shores which come after,
where passion furrows
and flings water on
a mortally bounded ground,
like a wedding ring’s cincture
or a chapel’s foundations
or a silo’s vaulted round.
For a season I sensed the
potent sailing there
in grief’s limpid liver sea,
coagulating all the blood
I’d lost into a more
durable, even lucid heart.
But I was still too young
for long hauls, my ends
too literal (I thought to
woo you back). But as
autumnal glazes spoored
to darker nights, I
grew bored with the
endeavor, the solitude
and freighted words
spilled like seed on
antiseptic journal pages:
One night I ventured
out again, for that
one or two beers no
alkie can just drink,
pure hearted I believed
but puerile in my sails,
getting drunk in all
the old haunts &
dragging some breasted
tunny home, a darkhaired
girl whose name I can’t recall
who fell asleep on my
living room floor as I
was searching in her blouse.
The next day, badly
hungover and driving her
silently home, I wondered
how quickly I had forsaken
love’s high ground
to raven all the wave-
troughs of my old demon
seas, those fleet and
thrilling waters where
all is wide but mere inches,
micropic shot-glasses deep.
Many years later all and
little has changed: I’ve grown
older and a bit up
exchanging wide nights for
deeper days, my labors
dogged and endless in
love’s long servitude,
naming hose old motions
across the roaring blue
(yes, and reveling in those
glistening spent organs of
lost passion too), standing
ever at love’s threshold
with so much yet to ferry,
so much work to do
before I’m ever fit to cross over
into the spiral castle in that tide
no man not poured from every
cup may truly call his home,
much less ride from shore to
shore inside blue water’s
deeper bliss of all that ensues
after that last and final kiss.


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