Your mama laughed
When you came back crying
After your first swim
In the ocean
But your mama didn’t see
What you saw
Your mama did not hear
The cries of the ocean
the girl with sea foam fingers writes letters
on napkins left on beaches like loose change,
words stumbling down staircases of five-seven-five haikus
— i want an ocean,
the one mama whispers of,
They float in circles, in figure eights,
On blackened surfaces of oil-streaked seas,
Or algae-infested lakes.
Shorebirds gasp for air,
Frogs choke on labored croaks,
Once so colorful and vibrant,
Soon to be eternally…
A Poem in Three Parts
1. Plastic Jellyfish
I swim in the cool water
Twist through the waves
Small fish jump along
My hard patterned shell
Blooms of jellyfish
Drift within turgid waves
Flurry of color,
flurry of fish.
Stirring, sweet song,
sweet ballad of the whale.
Jovial, delighted chirp,
delighted trill of the dolphin.
All is at peace.
All is as it should be.
NEPTUNE’S DAUGHTER: A PREFACE
o child of the sea, if you could wring out your hair
you’d get perfect neptunian waters, blue like the waves
that tumble out from the crevices of your skin
A blanket of white noise washes over,
and around me.
to the waves that I call home.
But different, somehow.
like a fly crawling into the wound,
of a dead animal.
The oceans are cresting over like weak knuckles
Against flesh. It’s April, and I am learning
That this is how the water begins to chaff and digest
Like a form of cartilage in the essence of what…
there is no language like that of whales.
you know when you hear it;
it sounds like time— like millions of years
murmuring as they go by.
the song of ex-gods,
sonic loops in
i. The monster
Sucking the oxygen
Draining the life out of
An ocean in a headlock
But fighting is
The plastic tightens its grip
Getting ready to deliver
The landfill for life
where absent souls dump their desolate and destroyed
into the abyss, swirling in a black, glistening whirlpool.
Imagine the coral
Stationary in the blue seas. Never moving,
Here the waves are crested
only with the gloss of a deadly dark ink,
never by whitewater, softened seafoam —
the shrill and raucous cries of seagulls
have choked in their throats,
Welcome to the freakshow
Where we paint our walls with madness
the colour of black spilling into blue
Insanity drifting towards the translucent glass
that fogs with each rainfall
Where our lion tamer wears oil gloves
I gave you tons of seafood
And what did you give me?
A plastic bag, a stray balloon
And lots of organochlorines.
I gave you a carbon sink
And what did you give me?
There is a floating whisper
Coming from a mother whose arms
Encourage in the low tide
And revive in the high
Whose nurture still lingers
Under our skin, our bones
To ancestors gone back…
I walk to the kitchen.
I lie down on my bed.
I sit back and relax.
17 animals dead.
17 lives taken.
Tell me, why are you so blue?
What did the cruel men do to you?
Selfishly stealing your children, every last one,
Ensnaring them in nets until there are none.
Suffocating them with awful, dark oil,
Plastic bobbs along from dawn to dusk,
Never stops floating,
Humans help me along.
Killing marine life,
Humans help me along,
It makes its way into the ocean.
Following the current,
waiting to degrade.
Only to be broken down
into smaller fragments.
Many pieces enter a fish.
Some are snatched into
a seagull’s hungry beak.
A generation that claims
Global warming is a Chinese hoax,
An economic strategy
Created for the elimination of competitive manufacturing,
Rising ocean acidification is “just more piffle,”
That the scare is baseless because
We all have that one relative
Maybe down the street
Or in another state
Or we may share the planet with them
But we all have them
The one who takes
“make yourself at…
She moves with the wind, the rain, and the moon.
She shifts and she shudders with rhythm and tune.
Her beauty is captivating, enchanting, imbibing.
Few have ever known the secrets she’s hiding.
As ominous as an…
I thought, I am king of the watery world
Where the merpeople live without sin
And the alga grow tall, like the Redwood trees
And they forgo their feet for a fin
Not too long ago, when…
Beyond the rhythmic clapping of waves on the scalding, summer sands,
a complex composition reverberates
so far out of reach.
Weaving of a mosaic web,
through echolocation whales sing.
The ones who look the quietest,
Some polystyrene beads here
Some fishing nets there
No, that’s not quite right
Maybe add color to the ocean floor
This blue plastiglomerate looks nice
No, it still needs more
These hydrophobic substances will do
Miles down there is no light
Beyond shipwrecks, beyond the kraken’s den,
Beyond greened bones, and bright coral
Below it all
Beyond the faintest ripples of storms above
Below is the still darkness
I used to watch the minnows grow up in the nursery of my lawn
Eggs turned tadpoles turned frogs turned mothers
An ecosystem everyone else learned from textbooks, but I did not
I saw every stage creep…
I make bacon for breakfast.
Grease conspires in the corners of the pan, then bubbles and congeals.
It whispers secrets in between rivulets of melting fat.
I lick sticky fingers and poor the frothing oil down the…
The butt of a cigarette sits in the sand,
sifts with the tide as it pans for gold,
sizzles like the last burning star in the sky.
The shoreline pleads redemption, yet still thirsts
In love in the morning I stand at your bedroom shore.
The blue comforter, lightly stained,
Spills with each breath
Over the precipice of your mattress.
Head sunken deep into a pillow
Like rocks at…
When I was about this tall,
I saw a young man at the beach,
His hair was just like the color of sand
That when he laid back against it,
Questioning the sky,
Behind the glass ceiling of skies, holding the freckles of molecules,
Across vast stretches of the descending heaven of the starless abode,
The paper boat is square, and restless in the motionless abyss of bourn,
A thousand moons…
The waves, they ebb and flow,
Under the white-bright moonlight glow.
The sky, so pure, unmarred,
Glowing with a spread of stars.
How small we are.
The girl, she stands alone,
Soaked down from…
On the beach on any given summer Saturday
Mama packs Capri Sun and peanut butter sandwiches
Slathers her kids bellies with tacky white sunscreen
Too cold and they complain
Safe and protected
Oxybenzone blocks the rays…
My first love had blue eyes that could swallow the entire galaxy
with just one bite. She knew how to allay my sorrows and uplift my
meandering hope. I lionized her vastness that contained my world.
Oceans full of
Nets of plastic
At the eradication of
Pristine waters with
Dolphins wading in
A sea of silky oil and toxic sludge only
My daughter ran to me, crying that she was sick,
Pleading for me to fix it quick.
My baby was sweating, melting away.
My baby clutched her stomach, filled with junk, completely trashed.
My baby fell…
There is nothing we can do
So please don’t tell me
We can fix the problem of ocean pollution
And I hope you agree that
We have no power
And It’s not true that
And we wondered why no one ever hears,
the melodious chorus of ocean waves,
The baritone notes of a humpback whale,
the soprano voiced bottlenose dolphin,
and they wondered why we never did sing,
I am water,
A liquid with tremendous power
I am responsible for life
And yes, it is a large burden I carry
But I carry more many more things
I carry pain
It has been ten years since.
The adventure has ended.
I am ready to recollect
a long and difficult journey home.
It had begun smoothly enough.
But little did we know,
we would soon encounter
from the day my mother and father
first let me fling and fumble
into the water —
toes testing and tongue
later learning everything
all at once —
i have only ever known one…
Let’s make a wave.
Let’s not fall victim to drowning ourselves
In suffocating slivers of synthetic,
Drift towards the neon light
Of a flashing reusable sign
Embedded on a cloth tote
And see that miracles…