by Peter F. Murphy
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the
swift current, I stood yet was hurried . . .
“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
How curious you are, bent from the foam
and the waves. Captain of the doubloon isle,
brine–eyed Merman, all night the water combs
you with black insolence.
Beyond the dykes, water–ways run
ribboned and still. Simple ripples drift
eye–level in muscular song.
I love you, O you entirely possess me.
The Father of Waters, slight,
by nighest name,
by clear loud voices,
by the river
approaching and passing.
Your eyes pressed black against the prow,
view voyages in fresh ruffles of surf. Cutty Sark,
your white sail’d clipper moored to
your first choice in scotch.
Your soul, deep like the rivers,
swims ancient, dusky rivers,
bloody at dawn.
Where twelfth–month seagulls stroke and float.
Where, on a dusty shore, Melville’s weaver–
god, deafened for life, sings tide–less spells
to the dice of drowned bones.
Where the thick–stemm’d steamboats leap and converge.
Abandoned in mists of amorous madness,
your sailors, pent–up, sit
upright, astride scallop–edged spars.
The S. S. Ala — Antwerp —
now remember kid, put me out at three. She sails on time.
Your dream or Uncle Untereker’s ?
Suddenly you see standing on the shore
just above the falls an enormous naked
You can’t keep your eyes off his huge penis.
Even though the noise of the falls is deafening,
and you are thoroughly frightened,
you keep watching.
Suddenly you realize
that you are naked, too. The boat
is at the very brink of the falls
now, and you feel yourself covered
Your own penis is tiny as a baby’s,
and you force yourself to look at it.
Some men take their liquor slow — and count.
Unfettered the sea is cruel.
. . . let the waves rear
like flat lily petals on the sea’s white
throat. This transitional place imagined again.