Kópakonan (Seal Woman) *
I’ll tell you the song
she’d sing if her lips
unfroze their copper---
that she’s peeled her skin
to give us the body
of the sea,
that the cathedral
of this coast,
built ripple by ripple
by heaven’s tears,
waits for you
like a silver carpet
smoothed to moonlight.
That her metal breasts
wait for a man or woman
to drink the ocean’s
steel, to kneel without
a phone and pray
to the sea and mountains
through weeping eyes.
Statue at Mikladalur Harbor, Faroe Islands
If the last human on earth drowned
the sea would keep rolling,
wildflowers would keep blowing
until they conjured us up again
from amino acids and lightning.
We are shadows of their perfection,
a necessary audience;
our words and poems stumble
just as we bruise our friends and family,
just as we use the earth dumbly,
just as we are numb to the dizzying smell
of honey, preferring our money and names.
This place always needed something broken,
someone to walk the church of its sands
to liquefy inside at the sight of surf and sky
and miss the whisper of god
hid in the sea’s scattered shells.
Moored by sweatpants, boots, and jackets
we never touch the whitecaps
that leap and dance like porpoises.
We seldom comprehend the tingle
of birth in our chests and fingertips
each time the ocean reveals
itself again for the first time.
The Sea Guitar
Of all the wood the tide spits up,
this string-less husk surprises,
shaped like a woman
but faceless as a stone --
while the surf shouts oblivion
to all melodies but one:
the da capo chord
of the Hammer of Creation.
Waves knock the broken neck,
a luthier's wet nightmare.
Some impossible phrase tangled
its player mad enough to murder
their axe where only gulls
in bickering colonies saw.
Now wind and surf dance
its eulogy around palms
and shells; the sun drums
hot to spotlight its drowned beauty,
sound hole soon plugged
by starfish and crabs,
sexy swerves smashed
to driftwood, a last song
in the foam.
Cabrillo never discovered the secret of San Clemente,
a shine more radiant than any diamond in Santa Barbara,
a freedom more full than arches of whales on the horizon,
brighter than sands rippled white by the footprint
of the waves. Only the fox hears the song of the rocks,
testing every step of the sheer sea cliffs,
stuffing every cranny that gives escape from
the Golden Eagle’s claws. Volley-ballers
and day-boaters never spy the tribes
of foxes that watch them from the brush,
that hunt deer-mice, crabs, and lizards,
and nap in the chaparral. Smugglers, sailors,
abalone divers, all smile flanked by foxes
they never see. The fox steps smooth,
in or out of danger, always catlike,
as if near a cliffside, tightroped between
finding and being found. No zoo could hold one,
no artist catch the ripple of its spine,
all night ranging the island, finding nothing useless
or forbidden, fenced by miles of ocean,
sealed in the circle of its home.
Daniel E. Blackston is a professional writer and musician who lives and works in Springfield, IL. He is the author of the books: The Ariel Method, and William Shakespeare and the Divine Mind, both of which will be published in 2022. His poems have appeared or will appear in: The Cape Rock, Santa Clara Review, California Quarterly, and The MacGuffin, among others. http://www.danielblackston.com/