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[Poetry] Four Poems by Daniel E. Blackston

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

tinged ice-blue,

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

Sonoma Surf

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

strumming forever

in the foam.

Island Fox

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.


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