OCEAN HIEROGLYPHICS (selection)
So, through me, freedom and the sea
will call in answer to the darkened heart.
the ocean is the blue of wine,
a broken bottle spilling into everything,
the blue of a matador’s cape,
blue defenestrations, silent highway skies,
the blue of beating hearts,
blue homesick sailors and harbor girls,
blue calderas of falling rain,
blue seaweed strands of dream,
blue net of breath and waves—
a rolling mass of greenblue waves
folds in across the shore
as gray rain falls
ocean to ocean,
brief breaths of sky between,
with shards of blue far out
beyond the silver sea—
small birds sit
the swinging curves
of black line wires,
I cannot hear
above the engine’s groan
or through the window pane.
silent on the running loping line
backdropped by shining scales,
eyelashes of sun
fallen with the rain, grayblue
across the autumn sea—
on boulders worn
by waves of salt,
to the seam
of sea and sky,
and grasp their slender poles
with cracked and calloused hands.
the green of staggering across a grimy floor, the whiskey retch of bile,
green self-preservation, willingness to kill for sustenance.
green fighting knives and dying prayers,
the green of a scarred and bitter cunt used and discarded by a thousand men, by all men,
green of the open sea, not a soul in sight,
green sepulcher of aspiration, the green of striving even after hope is dead.
cigarette rasp on tongue and lungs, the green of self-destruction, self-apotheosis—
fallen armies, fallen empires lie gray and green at the bottom of the sea.
the ocean is a thousand skins
trying to crawl ashore.
we sail on ships with compasses of stone
and come back rasped, unshaven, gray,
to a thousand faces
we try on and discard,
scaled with a rime of salt.
Scott Ezell is a Pacific Rim poet and multi-genre artist from California. His books include Petroglyph Americana (Empty Bowl Press) and Songs from a Yahi Bow (Pleasure Boat Studio). His poem-cycle “Ocean Hieroglyphics” has been translated into Chinese and Thai.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A River Runs Through Us Editor’s Note by Judith Roche Lyn Coffin Scott Ezell Sharon Doubiago Elizabeth Austen Kathleen Flenniken Christian Knoeller Lyn Lifshin David Berger Laura Bowers Foreman Sayantani Dasgupta Sibyl James Mary Swander Wendy Noritake Ann Spiers Kathleen Sweeney Brenda Peterson Dick Bakken Linda Rodriguez Michael Schein Carolyne Wright Angel Latterell Kristin Van Tassel Annie Finch Elizabeth Cunningham Cait Johnson Jack Hirschman Paul Nelson