I've striven to gather grace from the wet resting place

I hollowed with blunt shovel over and again

until the waves pushed cold against my shins.

A soothing wallow-hole, a fierce precise lash,

only comfort in bloated flesh I accept and abet,

this body sadly halted in its prime.

A blown transformer, a short in the system,

blue arc mind of sparks askew now torched with slag.

A frantic pulse wreckage. Sleek slipstreams trailing ash.

Oh, the inevitable antipode: a shift, an atonal sift,

I submerge with blunted tools into the belly of a whale

growing gills by the minute as every dive goes deeper.

I have no breath, no sound against a dull pressure wave

of entreaty or simple resignation. Let me surface for an air

crushed in the teeth like the chalk bitter pills that can save a life.

Let me drift without calls from ship to shore. My loved ones,

your sonar does not work here and I've no taste for this plankton,

this truncated menu, a famine of choice and feast of doubt.

Disinterred, Oh the breath! Now the sharpened shovel to work,

heedless of underground wires, blue flames leaping

gray transformers, in the cylinder circular effect of affect.

Till the seasons or perhaps years will round and I, tricked

by my own treason, will crash through the bitter chalk,

always brittle at the edges. Into the belly of this whale again.

A most confounding way to conduct a life.

Rod Peckman has been published in many online and a few print journals. He now lists those journals in which he believes his best work found a home (which is in no way is a comment on the other venues): Barnwood, Babel Fruit, Clapboard House, Juked, Silenced Press, The Tonopah Review, Hudson View, Ghoti, Calliope Nerve, Breadcrumb Scabs, and Paradigm.  Every other week he feels like a phony; every other week he feels like Wallace Stevens channeling e.e. cummings. But, he contends, we all feel those waxes and wanes  in one form or another. He thanks his amazing Yellow lab Allie for things he can't begin to describe. And M, for for whom he'd never attempt a description.

This vague exegesis may prove as opaque as the poem itself: a vivid, tactile memory of uninsulated A.C. current energy running to overcapacity before the inevitable blackout. We can be thankful modern medicine has at least provided a thin layer of insulation against the power spikes a certain percentage of us share.



Copyright 2009