Monday Poem

“There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.”
—Herman Melville; Moby Dick
“All politicians are loco.”
—Roshi Bob (with a tip o' the hat to Tip O'Neill)

Whatever Floats Your Pequod

Call me Ishmael
—no, on second thought don’t

Call me Lazarus because
I now have a second skin
—the old one was flayed
by a single-minded madman
ambulating on a stump

Below decks
you’d hear him articulating
his loathing of life
to the cadence of the thud
of his wooden leg upon
quarter-deck boards
a rumble overhead
like the thunder
of a gathering storm

Call me Lone Survivor
alive by dint of flotsam and luck
—if you call it luck to have been
under the spell and thumb
of a lunatic chasing a
malevolent memory

Call me Happy To Be Alive
—and do I have a story for you!
Now when I breath the air
of summer blossoms
and taste its berries
I know what they mean

Call me The Old Man And The Sea;
someone eventually will
—big fish are hard to let be
and we all know the allure
of horizons; but

no, really

call me Queequeg's Confidant,
buddy of a harpooneer, an island
prince in a tattoo shirt
in a small boat chasing
mammoth mammals
psyched for murder
aiming to slay them
with a tiny, tooled spear
its tip all meanness
and barbarity

Call me Henchman in pursuit
of lamplight, of oil and cash reaped
from the flesh of leviathan

Call me Ishmael or call me Man
whatever floats your Pequod
It’s all the same to me

by Jim Culleny, 6/23/11