MAP #275-1 Featured Poetry Supplement Theme: Old Man and The Sea
- Map of Austin Poetry #275-1
Featured Poetry Supplement
Theme: Old Man and The Sea
#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
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
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
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
With each sensuous
cycle of his dance,
he came closer
to her body.
against the seawall.
He lightly brushed
against her in his
as their eyes touched,
their souls caressed,
and their two hearts
beat against each other,
through their clothing.
They became one
with the waves
© 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
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,
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
a voyage to other lands
a lone woman paces the deck
scent of mournful Lilac
mixes with salt sea air,
only one star to reach for
she sees on the horizon
after three days a forest appears
then a cottage
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.
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
© 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