a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Scott Ezell


Rabia O’Loren

OCEAN HIEROGLYPHICS  (selection)


So, through me, freedom and the sea

will call in answer to the darkened heart.

                                                            —Pablo Neruda

i.

 

the ocean is the blue of wine,

a broken bottle spilling into everything,

the blue of a matador’s cape,

blue defenestrations, silent highway skies,

the blue of beating hearts,

blue homesick sailors and harbor girls,

blue calderas of falling rain,

blue seaweed strands of dream,

blue net of breath and waves—

 

ii.

 

a rolling mass of greenblue waves

folds in across the shore

as gray rain falls

ocean to ocean,

      brief breaths of sky between,

 

with shards of blue far out

beyond the silver sea—

small birds sit

the swinging curves

of black line wires,

singing perhaps—

I cannot hear

above the engine’s groan

or through the window pane.

silent on the running loping line

backdropped by shining scales,

eyelashes of sun

fallen with the rain, grayblue

across the autumn sea—

fishermen squat

on boulders worn

by waves of salt,

squinting

to the seam

of sea and sky,

and grasp their slender poles

with cracked and calloused hands.

 

iii.

 

the green of staggering across a grimy floor, the whiskey retch of bile,

green self-preservation, willingness to kill for sustenance.

green fighting knives and dying prayers,

the green of a scarred and bitter cunt used and discarded by a thousand men, by all men,

green of the open sea, not a soul in sight,

green sepulcher of aspiration, the green of striving even after hope is dead.

cigarette rasp on tongue and lungs, the green of self-destruction, self-apotheosis—

fallen armies, fallen empires lie gray and green at the bottom of the sea.

 

iv.

 

the ocean is a thousand skins

trying to crawl ashore.

 

we sail on ships with compasses of stone

and come back rasped, unshaven, gray,

to a thousand faces

we try on and discard,

scaled with a rime of salt.

 

Author Biography:

Scott Ezell is a Pacific Rim poet and multi-genre artist from California. His books include Petroglyph Americana (Empty Bowl Press) and Songs from a Yahi Bow (Pleasure Boat Studio). His poem-cycle “Ocean Hieroglyphics” has been translated into Chinese and Thai.

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