from The Ship by Stephen Sturgeon

to Alison Walsh

For one is beat with blasting tears,
     And burned with raging weather,
And reapt in fiery haste—, the ears
     Half-ripe, dead-ripe, or neither:

                       FREDERICK  GODDARD  TUCKERMAN.


The letters I have written to the world
while traveling in this boat
contain the same message more often than not
The world is terrifying
and this boat is not much better
but it is better.


Nothing would tempt me
to explain what residence on such a craft
as this could matter 

broken anchor
soaking material

is it love
grasping the weed bed
on the river’s bottom
and her feet trail behind her in the current
and the weed roots unsheathe
and love grabs a fresh weed
and water pushes past her eyes


The hole in the river bottom
takes in water like a drain
and the other hole in the river bottom
pours water into the river.

It is like a brain,
so much of the same thing
going in and out at every moment.


Clip clip says the sky.
What is that noise.
No one knows.

Fisk fisk say the trees.
Theories of an eventual waterfall

circulate among the drastic people.
I have my own theories.
Theories of a human waterfall.


Concerning the river’s marriage,
it calmed the excitable animals
into long sleep, in which they produced
tears the color of equatorial fruit,
and it was called a successful marriage.


The river’s wings flap and articulate
what a person hears exiting the Hippodrome,
the cascade of crowds and rubbings of shoes
as the sky pours hail and the earth creaks open.

So the river flies off leaving behind this boat
that goes on in confounded ways


Have you even married a mountain.

Have you even loved a river or lake
visited it
and married it.


It makes little sense 
what the river says when it talks

Turn Back Turn Back
No Forge Ahead Forge Ahead
You Can Do Neither

What the river says
makes less sense
when it does not talk

The Belly of a Roof
Conceals the Grave and the Secret
of the Eternal Life You will not Experience
though Eternally You Excavate the Roof


spinning spinning
we in this substantial 
dialogue with creation
or the unassuming vitriol
of a creator’s whimsy
and flashing dance


In my hands my eyes

I admit I eventually took out my eyes

held them a cantankerous moment
and cast them into the river
hoping to see what was there
and if indeed there was something
in the caverns constantly at work
diligently creating

And in demented darkness
I rose into a demented sleep

My eyes were back
when I awoke

carrying the outrageous memory
of the actions blistering beneath this boat
that I remember
it is foolish to communicate


New Year’s Day must have come
It may have been that dismal day
we expounded on the rudder.

We screamed and shook hands,
the next day woke up

We are in this boat,
millions of people
it must

a vacuum