This poem has too many parts to parse. Each line a morsel. And it’s on its 8th or so revision. Still, as much as I can’t parse it, and you don’t want me to parse it, I have to say that when I watched the Oregon coast and ran along it from sea level to 1000 or so feet above, I wondered about a man’s sanity gazing at pelicans reeling with gulls, cormorants and frigate birds. What would it be to play there?
“Freedom is a Pelican”
The cockswain’s barks burst, syllables clipped and brusque.
His chest unleashes drum’s commands,
wood mallets striking skin, waves clapping the hull,
whips sting eyes and backs. Men in their boats fall from the crest.
Fear prowls the cliffs amidst the fog, staking claims.
Oarsmen sound across the furrows to eke out the hope men seek.
Sleek wings bent, brown pelicans skim Pacific waves.
A disheveled pair of vagabonds, they eye the boatmen, then herring, then
site the lighthouse where a father sits with two world-weary sons watching for
perdido machines passing beyond the shoals and rocky islets.
Machines and men move, mere pieces played on the profiteers’ shuffleboard.
Boys and men struggle, wayfaring spirits, commanded to purgatory like
pride-ejected lions adrift on the savannah’s grass sea east of Lake Malawi.
Fate stares, a mamba’s lidless eyes. Death hunts like a leopard seal.
Certainty stalks beneath their feet. Indifference slides away in the foam off basalt shores.
The trio look to the far cliffs, wishing. The pelicans dive into mouthfuls of mullet.
Humpbacks breach, engorged with krill, singing to their mates and calves.
Otters and leopard sharks dance with supple backs in the kelp’s flickering light.
Rain softly chatters atop the cliffs on fern processions, toppled firs.
History is born, the future dies. Here sounds the long speech place.