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MAP #275-1 Featured Poetry Supplement Theme: Old Man and The Sea

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  • Stazja <stazja@aol.com>
    Map of Austin Poetry #275-1 Featured Poetry Supplement Theme: Old Man and The Sea Upcoming Themes: #276 - Mother/Daugher/Sister/Wife #277 - Poems From
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27, 2003
      Map of Austin Poetry #275-1
      Featured Poetry Supplement
      Theme: Old Man and The Sea

      Upcoming Themes:

      #276 - Mother/Daugher/Sister/Wife
      #277 - Poems From Hillbrook (submissions closed)

      Send poems to stazja@... in body of e mail, left justified. No
      fancy fonts or colors. No attachments. On subject line, note the
      issue number and theme. Include permission to publish. Poets retain
      all rights.

      Before the poetry , a listing that missed Austin Poets Guide:
      Saturday, March 1 - Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe, Austin. 2
      p.m. Poetry In The Arts will Honor Ed Eakin, publisher and patron of
      the literary arts with special guest Charlene Eakin; Guest Host C. A.
      Wiles; and Poet Alan Birkelbach reading from Without Boundaries
      (Eakin Press), winner of the 2001 Pat Stodghill Book Publication
      Award. Winners of the March poetry contest will be announced and must
      be present to claim their prizes and read their poems. Open mic
      following the featured poets. fmi 453-7920.

      It's a full boat this week. The theme, Old Man and The Sea, netted so
      many poems the skiff couldn't hold 'em all. With a deep sigh of
      regret, the Old Man had to toss back some of the bigger catches. This
      week's selections include

      1. "The Net Effect" by Mike Gullickson
      2. "Thylassic Foreplay" by Barbara Carr
      3. Untitled by Nina Simon
      4. "Mother Ocean, Father Island" by Tony Gallucci
      5. "Chub the Red Tide" by Amy Quartermain
      6. "all the colors on the sea" by Nancy Lambert
      7. "The Sailor" by Allen Berry
      8. "Departure by sea" by Nii Parkes
      9. "Fishing" by Jack Bowman
      10. "Mariner's Psalm" by Dunkin
      11. "On the stern" by Michael Levinson
      12. "Old Currents Defined" by Claibie Walsh
      13. bonus poem - Taking a Stand on Iraq: Speak Out by Lawrence

      1. The Net Effect by Mike Gullickson

      " To grow old is to lose everything"
      AFFIRMATIONS Donald Hall

      The Vietnamese neighbor on Avenue L
      is repairing his net-
      It's an agony and a joy as tedious things
      can be,
      as things that must be done, often are.
      He waves back to me as I pass his driveway
      the ache in his muscles from this gesture
      is no surprise to him, he can no longer hold a pen
      he needs help buttoning his shirt.
      The net stretches back into the garage, I fantasize it
      stretched into the gulf , the shrimp welcoming its embrace
      the shrimp eager to come aboard.
      He remembers lowering it in the warm waters
      offshore from Ben Da, his home, he can still smell
      the Mangrove in the wind, still feel the sway of the boat.
      Only his sons and their sons go out in the Texas gulf.
      Life is different now, they argue about satellite T.V.
      SUVS and whether a Gucci purse is worth the cost.

      They tell him to keep quiet.
      They tell him to know his place.
      They tell him an old man just wouldn't understand
      this new land.

      He remembers the war that brought him here.
      He remembers the wars on the Texas coast
      for who had the right to shrimp.
      He remembers when elders were respected.

      He mends the net sure of his place
      in the scheme of things. Though he is weary
      and in pain he mends the spaces in-between
      where things might get away. He daydreams
      of a wood fire, Ben Da, and his life that wriggled
      through the net of time
      back out to sea.

      © 2003 mike gullickson
      2. Thylassic Foreplay by Barbara Carr

      On one sea cruise tourist stop,
      she watched Greeks dancing.
      When one older man chose
      a much younger woman
      to dance with him,
      the dance became
      extremely seductive.

      With his arms outstretched
      like Heron's wings,
      he held one long-stemmed
      red rose in his hand.
      His knees and hips dipped
      slightly to the beat
      of the music
      as he passed slowly
      in front of the woman,
      first facing her,
      then facing away
      from her.

      With each sensuous
      cycle of his dance,
      he came closer
      to her body.
      Waves crashed
      against the seawall.

      He lightly brushed
      against her in his
      final circle
      as their eyes touched,
      their souls caressed,
      and their two hearts
      beat against each other,
      through their clothing.
      They became one
      with the waves
      splashing over
      forbidden barriers.

      © 2003 Barbara Carr
      3. Untitled by Nina Simon

      Dave was this guy I met on a sailing trip in high school,
      a friend of a friend,
      older, thirty something,
      but the only one experienced
      enough to keep us from capsizing.
      He worked the docks with my friend,
      scrubbing boats for shit pay
      in old cutoffs and a smile that seemed to say,
      things have been better,
      but things have also been worse.
      On land, he shuddered like a seal pup
      slicked over in tar or some other
      unlucky break. Like his life was
      spilled onto him, crazy girlfriend,
      great cats, but crazy girlfriend
      who yelled at him if he didn't
      do the laundry or give her money.
      It's funny what people will do to excuse themselves,
      the way we step out of our own whirlpools.
      Once we were on the water,
      Dave's stories slowed, swelled in and out
      with the waves. I was sick, no budding sailor,
      but he was cool and in all the pictures from the trip,
      Dave appears, the tan buddha in the background,
      crouched against some improbable strand of rope.
      Dave had been a fisherman. No, Dave was more than that.
      Dave risked his life to swallow Alaskan king crab in his nets.
      At 18, he filled up on speed and shot up north
      to grab his own piece of wind and waves,
      little more than mirages under the blinding sun.
      He shook his head at the jibs,
      crossed fingers against the cold, and in three weeks,
      he had it all, thousands burning his pocket
      for another year, enough to buy cars,
      women, warmth enough to want that chill again.
      It wasn't cold enough for Dave to quit,
      until one season took twenty of his friends
      on that same water.
      Dave told me this, and I imagined twenty doped-up smiles
      knocking each other across the sea.
      Twenty blobs on a tattoo somewhere,
      twenty years between here and some wetter piece of wilderness.
      Dave drank. And kept us balanced as we tittered
      along the ocean. As his stories got worse
      his speech sharpened, like some part of his tongue
      still remembered the solemnity of death, loss,
      all the heartache Dave told. All the stories
      spread across the water, hiding out in waves,
      waiting to spring another good joke on someone.
      Late the last night, Dave and I were up,
      sharing the last bottle of wine. I'll never forget
      that night, his eyes splitting the wake of dawn.
      I thought about how lucky it is to love water,
      which always forgets.
      The sky was dark, the sea singing.

      © Nina Simon
      4. Mother Ocean, Father Island by Tony Gallucci

      You never think of this until it's too late. You wade into the surf
      and dig your toes into the thick sand and feel layers pulled away
      and you close your eyes and there's a swallowing and burying
      and a constant pulling away and you're yanked to the side
      and your knees buckle and you're sucked out into a giant stumble,
      you fling out an arm to catch you and you try to put your foot
      out there but it's stuck in place and quicksand
      goes through your head, but this is not what you pictured,
      not a drowning, though that is what quicksand will do to you,
      drown you in lungs full of grit, or else just burst them,
      bottomed out in the weight of a millennium's erosion,
      maybe the quickest thing stone can ever do, and you are falling now,
      trying to catch yourself in waist deep water
      where you can't really catch yourself before the waters do
      and you are not afraid, not scared, dumbfounded maybe, shocked, but
      you will make it and you feel the sand eating at your calves now,
      and you know you won't be pulled over, pulls you down but not out
      and you fight the pull from the side and then it stands you up,
      knocking at you and maybe you have never really felt
      so pulled before, and finally all there is to do is to laugh
      and you do. You laugh. And the pulling stops for a moment.
      Not down or away or up, just stops and you can stand there
      and laugh, and then Billy comes over and says,
      you sure are short where'd you go, and he says,
      remember to keep moving, that's a thing I told you to remember,
      and you remember but you never knew what it was he was talking
      about and now you do, Jamie, now you do. and now, in the twilight,
      sun hard on your shoulders, the last heat
      bouncing off the churning surf, throwing braided line
      with pyramid sinkers and shrimp-pink beads
      beyond the shallow breakers, hooks heavy with old pig perch backs,
      your back into the throw, your arms into the set, wrists into the
      rolling of the reel, there's a nibble, a tug, a hard wham and the
      heavy fiberglass rod jumps from you like
      legs snapped up standing hard in buried sand being pulled
      everywhichways and you rear back against the pull, stinging darts of
      sand in the wind in your shoulders, the line racing away,
      throwing rooster tails of salt spray off the S-loop guides,
      and for a moment there is a moment, one final moment,
      when the sun hisses behind you, behind the bay horizon,
      behind that the whole of the earth, you see it all from here,
      flashes a golden wink against the blue, now indigo, edge of humanity,
      and for a moment you forget the line, the bait, the hook, the day,
      the dusk, the night, and just hang in that moment,
      and only a slamming run brings you back. And another,
      and another, until a hundred hard runs, leans, dips, cranks,
      leaves the thing abandoned at your feet.
      All I know is that you hollered at me.
      I heard something in your voice I didn't hear
      when you were stuck in the sand with Billy towering over you and,
      when I run to see, you have not come any closer, to it, or him, or
      me, or anything. I'm proud of you, I say --
      I dream of bringing up a big mako or black tip spinner
      but all I ever hook are them lousy bonnet heads, and here you are.
      I see your knees buckling in your mind, you not knowing
      you stood in shallow surf with 200-pound sharks. And
      you won't even come look now, though it's mostly dead, you killed it,
      fighting it hard against its breath, against it's need to head deep.
      Oh Jamie where do you think they come from,
      encyclopedias and National Geographics? Were you thinking this ocean
      was not the ocean of morays and killer whales and maybe even Jonah
      and Moby and their big white sperm-headed whales, the ones we all cry
      out for lonely nights when we don't understand
      how big mammal fish swallow up whole humanities and ideas
      and confuse us with giggles and snickers in this big old world full
      of incongruity? Jamie are you afraid now when you were not afraid
      then, stuck sand-bound in the craw of big mother ocean,
      big mother feeding everything, us too, every single second
      of every hour of her lifetime, been living far longer than we
      can count? Is that it Jamie? Been fishing for something we all don't
      know what it is, out here in the one place we can all claim as our
      own, Father Island lying next to Mother Ocean. Can't anybody know
      what it is we need to know, isn't that it Jamie? Or maybe just better
      not to know it in a place too big for the knowing of it anyway.
      Maybe better not to know anything at all. Maybe. Could be, Jamie,
      could be we don't need to know what it is we
      don't need to know.

      © Tony Gallucci
      5. Chub the Red Tide by Amy Quartermain

      The day, skyless

      Picture framed in a dinghy, I paddled through flaming fish
      as if our unfocused determination might save us

      but each distended, accusatory eye followed, through this obstacle
      of sailboats nodding like tethered horses

      On the shore, masked Sarasota City workers, shoveled beached
      desperate for legs, into five gallon buckets

      Holocosts can be laundered, buried in unmarked landfills for awhile,
      until all that we chub rises, even our acclimated senses cannot ignore

      © Amy Quartermain
      6. all the colors on the sea by Nancy Lambert

      all the colors on the sea
      that fall from the clouds at sunset.
      in his upturned hand,
      my father held the sun
      now poised to drop beneath waters
      at the horizon, looking west.

      in his hand my father
      held the sun once, glowing.
      it was long ago,
      when he was boy and could
      take the heat, believing it radiant.
      but there is a storm now

      distant lightning
      racing through low black clouds
      to tap at the sea far away.
      my father's fingers
      weaving through cooling air
      fail to connect

      I lived here once, he says.
      I would live again on this beach
      if not for death
      the white flecks of gulls
      and black sheet of rain.
      all the fish leaped out,

      he says,
      and shows me,
      into my hand.

      © Nancy Lambert
      7. The Sailor by Allen Berry

      The ocean swallowed the sun, as it does everyday…
      And the ocean was still not filled.
      Perhaps that is why the ocean
      Swallowed my friend the sailor.

      The Sailor always swam out past the markers,
      Never fearing the undertow.
      Fearless as a Great White, he tested the sea
      Learned her dark secrets, she respected him.

      In the end, the Ocean took him,
      Dragging him down in to her black and hungry maw,
      Like so many who'd tested her before…

      Tonight I will go to the shoreline,
      I will stand on the rocks overlooking the sea.

      The ocean swallows the sun, everyday,
      And the ocean is still not filled.
      But perhaps tonight, she will accept a trade.

      © 2000 Allen Berry
      8. Departure by sea by Nii Parkes

      The waves slow their sprint as they approach you
      The palms sway like a gospel choir in tune;
      Resplendent in fitted green and tan robes.

      You have chosen this spot as your last quay.
      Here where you know the sand, the wind and the trees
      Is where you kneel to wait; to reminisce.

      Before long the tides will come creeping in.
      Steal the world away as sand by wet grains;
      Shameless, in full view of the setting sun.

      On cue you will lie flat beneath the breeze
      And let the salt preserve your memories.
      Palms will hum as seagulls sing your swan song.

      © Nii Ayikwei Parkes
      9. Fishing by Jack Bowman

      Boards creak
      sails bend
      a voyage to other lands
      a lone woman paces the deck
      in thought
      scent of mournful Lilac
      mixes with salt sea air,
      only one star to reach for
      she sees on the horizon
      an edge,
      after three days a forest appears
      then a cottage
      a calmness
      as waves push the ship forward she
      on open seas.

      © Jack Bowman
      10. Mariner's Psalm by Dunkin

      Alone with the Milky Way
      it's hard to believe in time
      only the moment counts
      continues, infinity so vast
      it's a womb to grow up in.

      The sky a canvas, moving
      constantly changing, night, day
      always the same, but different
      our horizon past, present, beyond
      no walls limit such seclusion.

      Eternity swings, anchored overhead
      our foundation in motion, restless
      serpentine beneath us, heaving
      rolling, a liquid filled with life.
      Its depth an unfathomable chain.

      Having gazed out upon
      the illusive periphery
      where silver dances on water
      I have cried in the wind
      and heard God's whispers.

      © Dunkin
      11. On the stern by Michael Levinson

      Eyes bright for the sun's going
      Haze at the water
      Dusk light blue
      Color of sand in the clouds;
      Look out at the drop
      The sun's last clouds
      Turn grey from beige and red
      Sun glint on the sea top
      Churn of the ship
      Way off some yapping porpoise
      The sky quilts together
      Loose thread and blue grey patches

      © Michael S. Levinson
      12. Old Currents Defined by Claibie Walsh

      For one moment, he wasn't forty,
      I wasn't fifty six. All this
      in the time it takes to softly
      extinquish a candle or ignite one.

      "a flowing outward that results from return flow "

      He wasn't young. I wasn't old;
      merely a male and a female
      in a smoky bar late the other night..

      "course of events that is the result of an interplay of forces"

      We never kissed nor touched
      merely exchanged proximity of close breaths
      before I passed and left.
      My nostrils millimeters away
      His lips nearly touching,
      me teasingly holding back
      just enough but
      unsmiling for maximum effect.

      "generally accepted, used, practiced, or prevalent at the moment"

      He felt it then, he told me a week later,
      as if he were surprised. "You know," he said,
      "that electricity that still brings chills."

      I laughed because I am fifty six
      and he is still forty and doesn't realize

      I already knew about currents;
      have always known -- with or
      without definition.

      © Claiborne Schley Walsh
      13. Taking a Stand on Iraq: Speak Out by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

      And a vast paranoia sweeps across the land
      And America turns the attack on its Twin Towers
      Into the beginning of the Third World War
      The war with the Third World

      And the terrorists in Washington
      Are shipping out the young men
      To the killing fields again

      And no one speaks

      And they are rousting out
      All the ones with turbans
      And they are flushing out
      All the strange immigrants

      And they are shipping all the young men
      To the killing fields again

      And no one speaks

      And when they come to round up
      All the great writers and poets and painters
      The National Endowment of the Arts of Complacency
      Will not speak

      While all the young men
      Will be killing all the young men
      In the killing fields again

      So now is the time for you to speak
      All you lovers of liberty
      All you lovers of the pursuit of happiness
      All you lovers and sleepers
      Deep in your private dream
      Now is the time for you to speak
      O silent majority
      Before they come for you!

      ©2003 Lawrence Ferlinghetti
      Lawrence Ferlinghetti is San Francisco's first poet laureate (1998)
      and the owner and founder of City Lights Bookstore. This poem first
      appeared on the City Lights Web site (www.citylights.com) and is
      included on poetsagainstthewar.org. Mr. Ferlinghetti was kind enough
      to permit this reprint in the MAP.
      Grateful thanks to all who contributed.
      Welcome new readers. Anyone wanting off the mailing list, e me at
      The MAP and featured poetry supplement are posted online at:
      Austin Metro: www.austinmetro.com/poetpage.html
      The Poets' Porch: www.poetsporch.com
      Austin International Poetry Festival: aipf.org

      Much love,
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