Tuesday, January 01, 2013

More Twitter Tanka and Tall Ships

Ahab had
his white whale,
but I,
I go chasing
after white sails

Cape Cod Bay—
just one schooner
on her way
to the races
and a looming hurricane

deceptively quiet
at midnight
and slack tide
as we ghost through

the sea 
like rippled silk,
a blue 
no dyer
will ever match

spray flying
and clouds gathering
ah well
it’s a problem
for the next watch

a moment’s rest
before dinner—
scribbling a few lines
so I won’t forget
this day

a zephyr
with teeth,
thirty knots
howling through
the rigging

at sea
on my son’s birthday,
no way to call him,
but I think of him
all the same

fabled skyline—
pretty to look at
but I wouldn’t want
to live there

little traffic
in Long Island Sound,
whatever happened
to the great port of New York?

Manhattan sunset
white and red lights
like gems
as seen from the deck
of a passing ship

at the end
of a day’s sailing,
the cat’s grey fur
with salt crystals

a Yankee port
buried somewhere under
the yachts
and mansions
of Martha’s Vineyard

no king
on a gilded throne
could ever equal
the glory of 
a sailor at sea

God made 
the seas so large
so men would have
an inkling of
His majesty

sea legs—
the ship
standing still
in the middle
of a topsy turvy world

beam sea
watching the books
topple left
then right
on the bookshelf

the cruise ship
with her passengers
dwarfs us—
and so do
their wallets

I miss
the solitude
of a wintry sea,
just God, work,
and the clatter of oysters

Seamen's Bethel
with a hurricane coming
I sit in those 
bony pews and contemplate
the the hundreds of names not written

~passages from Cape Code to New York City

Twitter Tanka

It has been a long time since I have posted poetry or much of anything to my blog, so I thought I would catch up by posting some poems that have previously appeared only on Twitter.

a freighter at anchor
her bow turned to face
the onslaught;
sky and sea
and storm and wave

the tall ship’s captain
in a pirate bikini
a rhinestone 
skull and crossed bones
over her left breast

still in her bikini
the captain explains
mechanical advantage
and directs the re-rigging
of the gun tackle

“stand off, stand off!”
I cry, hanging in
the rigging,
curious tourists 
right under our guns

clothes make the man:
the Viceroy in his hat and wig
is a charming gentleman,
but without his costume
he’s just another creepy old man

a linen shirt
and waistcoat—
more compliments
at the pirate festival
than the rest of the year

he calls me “dashing”
the much too young
who says
he might be bi

“rum, sodomy,
and the lash”
here’s rum
and even a few lashes, 
but not a bit of sodomy

underage for sure—
but if he’s old enough
to carry a gun,
he’s old enough
to be ogled

too wet
to sleep on deck
too hot to
sleep below
a long night at sea

~Blackbeard Pirate Festival, Hampton, VA, 2010