Today, when Ziggy
(the dog) and I
go down to the ocean
we’ll send you a poem

Some wild ribbon
invisible soul
birds in flight
across chrome waters

We will wait
for your silent reply
Look for a word
And world of peace

Riding back
over bright breakers
From your land-
locked European country

*

A Sea-Monkey
I was born and raised
in Florida

Learned my liquid life
Now, I am pulled
by the moon

Birth and inevitability
Yes, the ocean
Gives us power

Tells us the rolling universe
Does not belong to us
No matter how hard

We try to destroy it

*

Godless power
Chrome waves

Sun’s flames
soak my brow

Ziggy stops to dig in the sand
Barks at the blue-black raven

Calling from the stranded
Boulder on Shell Beach

*

I’d go crazy living on an island
Surrounded by a fevered sea of woe

And sapphire horizons

I plan for a busier tomorrow
But I can’t get the ocean out of my head

You could crave another island

But whatever’s there I can’t describe
Lupine, thistle, and wild oats

On the bluff
Something I think I see, but can’t

Imagination
Inscribed in the mercurial sky

I wait for an explosion

*

This is not a good year for Tyrants!
Copper skies above Tahrir Square

Here comes that crashing thought
That currency I sent away over the expanse

To be read by you, Mitko
Tear gas clouds in Tahrir Square

Coming back tied and frayed around a rugged headland
We have had enough of this enslavement!

Men and women, boys and girls with stones
Give them what they want

Don’t wait for permission from the headquarters
Authorization from the Opera

Live long and without endorsements

*

The dog still barks, but can’t say exactly what he believes
Is that a dragon or civilization burning on the beach?

Coming in or going out
I can’t tell which way the poetry is running

A wave followed by another wave followed by another
A sleeper wave

Tide of the underworld rushing overall, blowing silver
Over shipwrecked shores and tortured skies

*

I asked the California badger
on the road back home
Do you find this dream amusing?

There was something vicious in his response
Is the human condition just entertainment?

I ask the badger
about political gamesmanship
and coppery metaphors

Slung across the heavens
like Handel’s Messiah?

No reply!

This is not a domestic animal!

*

O, Brother from another great continent
Beyond shimmering cataclysmic fever

Foam and light rushing up over my feet
Mammoth rubbings on mammoth stones. . .

Oh Macedonian Brother

I went down to the ocean today and the sky and sun and water
were blinding and gorgeous chrome, so I kind of got caught

in light and isolation and could think of nothing else.

© Michael Rothenberg
12.28.2011


 

Read Michael Rothenberg’s bio.

 

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