1 June 2012

You Are Here



Pan the camera over here, shoot me, because I want this on the record.
I have a feeling.  It juts, it struts.  Salient, a raised flag, a hair on end.
Points of fact are easily evacuated.  Jellied, pulverized, chased out of their meanings.  
The on-message men do their garrulous best with scoldings, threats and lullabies,
dismiss the facts of our world right out of their hands. But feelings are hard to destroy.  
You can chase them, but you can’t chase them away.
Perhaps that’s why this feeling leaps like a dolphin.
It leaps ahead of me, ahead of us.  I can hardly see it anymore, but I will follow.
I should tell you that I am influenced by photographs of whales.  Altered by films of tuna.
As leaden nets scoop their craters from the sea floor, I am prejudiced by the sight
of the young man with the air-compressor hose pinched between his teeth, 
breathing gas fumes to dive with his dozen coworkers, hoping not to die today.
Death is a reasonable expectation when you must go deeper every morning, because
the fish are fewer than they were, than they ever were, than they were yesterday.
I know the sea surface is a two-way mirror.  I seek entrance to the other side.
It’s like watching fish in a tank.  I know that when your eyes get past the reflections,
your breath might not catch for crabs and bivalves as it does for an otter, a beluga.  
Still, gaze into the prism.
The salmon confuse the heart, the way they bump their snouts on the glass.  
Looking for their work, their home, their useful struggle.  Locked down at the border.
Pan the camera over here.  I want you all to see me with my hand held out like this,
see where I stand, how it looks behind me. The shallow dish of harbour at my back.
Beyond it the grey line where the sea stirs itself up, hisses itself into humps.
This is how our ocean breathes and perhaps there is speech in its breath.
Here, take this barbed hook from my hand,
this will serve our purpose.  See how it curls like a listening ear?
Scratch and scratch with it.  We might yet pierce the veil of mirrored mirrors.
Scratch the worn sheet of our disregard - look, you can see right through it,
over here where we lie every night to dream.
I know in daytime it’s easy enough to tune to the drone of voices,
re-telling the fated deeds of The Economy.  At night it’s harder to forget the blue home.
At night when the eyes lower in reverence of sleep 
and the bodies rest and rub on their linens
we toss and turn and roll like waves trying to breathe.
The real world has barely a chance to reach us.
It can only creep in when the screens are powered down and the ringers are off,
and so the ocean comes in dark to pray behind your face, inside your globe of bone.
At night, when you are helpless against what is happening,
the herring merge and exert, pulsing through your saltwater mind.
Flashing fish coalesce into their ancient survival orb
turning their abject vulnerability to sharp eyes, beaks, and hooks
into a million briefer dangers that tickle the belly of your dreaming.
Their lost silver scales wend their shining, falling paths to the floor of you:
emergency flares descending to your depth, there to burn and abrade the film 
between our stupor - our insistence on what used to be - and what is now.
You know those places where you still patrol the walls
that keep out the flow of the world.  Yes, as we scratch they are waning, and thin.