I’m going to cut this down – way too long. I will be posting pieces that I’ve worked on and edited, so don’t worry, but for now this space will remain clean as a testament to my learning process.
So as I learn how this works, what looks reasonable and communicable on the virtual page, I will slowly update the blog. As I said in the introductory post, my hope is to eventually include other voices. For now, this piece below.
“Twelve Year Growth” is the first piece I’ve ever read at a formal poetry/prose reading. The Dairy Center in Boulder, Colorado, held a series of events in recognition of veterans and art, culminating in the Veterans Speak event on Thursday, November 27, 2014. I went first with my semi-autobiographical account of the twelve or so years I spent in the Navy. I elided over many events, ignored others, and embellished some.
“Twelve Year Growth”
Salt spray cracked lips can’t speak no more
What we knew what we said or devised in our rules regulations
The first time you see sunrise and sunset out of sight of land and cast your eyes down to the ocean’s surface waves breaking cross the ship’s bow down past the part of the ocean where light still penetrates where fish have dark upper bodies and light lower bodies down through the pelagic and the benthic zones and down past the continental shelf and past the abyssal plain down where the bones of dead whales give feasts and festivals to crabs and sea scorpions when you see the sun set and sun rise and wonder how it all happened that’s the start of it.
Wind whipped the home the body come tumble home
Pillars of fire and sharks in the sky
Bioluminescent waves and glass mountains –
Bears come roaring from the poles
Hornets buzz send the bears gone running home
You get closer to the Equator the less the stars look like they do at home. The more they look different, lost, confused. You grow up you think of Polaris as fixed, unmoving, reliable, but by the time you realize the starlight you see has been traveling for millions of years you realize there’s no such thing as the North Star any more than there are lines on a map that can tell you where to go, or how to get back home. The farther north we went the colder the waters grew, lights in the dark pointing the way not home but pointing themselves to you saying I am here.
Sand grit rough the everywhere find sand scratching months later
Penny for your thoughts for your flames for your sand traps and bunkers concrete silos and safe zones so the handouts say like the old films we all laugh at now DUCK AND COVER you actually do need to duck and cover not that the contortion of your body under just a couple of inches of cement will save you but it’s what’s required what the situation calls for. There was a cone a three-story cone of terra cotta or ceramic or maybe just mud used to house bats the only best way they’d devised to manage the insect problem before the Americans preoccupied with their chemicals and sprays.
Cut the chain cut the anchor chain cut the tow line
Don’t you know the ship isn’t held down by the anchor
But the anchor chain does the staying?
Fight the good fight fight the bad fight doesn’t matter when you look out across the sea a surface as calm as a lake and you don’t know how it got that way fight your own fight take the head and heart and talk down your fists but fight on. Through it all through the twelve year growth and rot and question and prayers sent first to God then to no one then to home then to lovers unburden yourself cast off the weight the doubts the small fears and dreams delayed and breathe for the first time in years breathe the first time in your life breathe and just breathe. I’m no gatekeeper no gate want to be a window a door a conversation so come in.
Come with me and I’ll tell you a story.
Hello, Reader. Welcome to Cirripedia Press. Those steadfast and ever-present barnacles belong to the Cirripedia family; literally meaning “curl-footed,” the word evokes images of crustaceans fitted to ships’ hulls, calcified masses of subsurface biological matter with the intention of spreading and surviving.
That is what this blog – and eventually the Press – strives to achieve: spread and survive.
Stay tuned for updates. In the beginning my own work will be featured, as a matter of pride and necessity. As the barnacles spread I will invite other writers, other artists, other voices to join in the community.
Until then, Reader, spread and survive.