Fat and disgusting,
the manatee eats and shits
with endangered grace.
to it's slow decline.
to win the seat but forget
how to act like men.
Why isn't there a
sociopath filter built
into the system?
The shouting face of the sea
Ravages rocks on the toes of the beach
Seashells glued to glass
laminate the reflecting rays of the baking sun
A pebble preaches to a mountain
Underneath an electric dream
Galvanize my heart,
It needs a jump-start
Stuck in a frozen tundra of fallacy
Chasing broken tragedies
I told her
Nothing seems to change the mind
So I guess I’ll have to lie
Praying a lion’s smile
captures her immaculate eyes
But my summer’s luck lacks the ability to clear cloudy skies
Now I am alone in a misty meadow
With taciturn trees
Yet you were like the warm belly of a manatee
And I was a calloused heart hoping for a remedy
sometimes i like to remember when i ran
cross-country in the fall last year.
we always started at the park on first,
then took the sidewalk that
followed the water, all the way
to the fine arts museum and
back. we started precisely at
five thirty every day.
but once, before coach blew the
whistle, a manatee surfaced
just by the boarding dock.
he swam beside the wall, until
he was just underneath us.
he wasn't majestic or
breathtaking, or anything special-
just another manatee.
but he was enough
to make us stop, even coach.
he was enough to make us smile.
so here is one, even if it's bad. true story, though, the manatee had two friends and my team and i watched them for a good five minutes.
when i was in eighth grade, our teachers took us on a trip to swim with the manatees. we strapped up in wet-suits in went the middle of winter, and it was freezing, but so worth it. we weren't allowed to follow them or anything, but they were curious, and if they came up to us, we could do whatever. i got to pet, like, six manatees that day. i didn't really like manatees all that much up until that point. one of them was all scarred up from boat propellers, and when i pet him, i could feel the scar tissue and it broke my heart but he was so happy and sweet and it was really incredible. moments like that make me love living in florida.
What a night! – Them boys been frenzied!
Mouths all a'watterin' over
sea cows in a wattering hole!
I guess I didn't know what it was. Knew it was gorgeous, his'm!
This is some iced-to-the-bone antebellum romanticism, and how–
Ba-loo! Sing it, fleur de lis! Remember that these things never really
happened. Them manatees happen'd upon shined-out appalachians.
And I tell you– And I wonder...
I wonder quite a lot these days.
These days gettin' longer yet, the sun's yet to rise.
He asked if I'd stay,
and my silence trapped him
like a mosquito in amber.
The seconds rumbled past, unhurried glaciers,
two hurricanes, a drought, and a war came
and he was still rolling his joints,
tapping on shoulders, asking soldiers for a light.
When the sea rose and flooded the town,
he sat in his swollen armchair
exhaling smoke bubbles,
while parrotfish gnawed at the carpet, and later,
his eyes glazed with a tired sort of expectation
when the manatees swam past
in their solemn triumph over the suburbs,
as if any one of the lumbering sea cows
might come bearing my yes.
An illusionist by trade, he
Could transport her from where she stands
To a magical spring rumored
To harbor manatees that turn
Into mermaids under the sun.
He needs only one volunteer
To help him spin the great machine
Until its wheels move too quickly
To see the metal spokes between
Its three hubs and rotating rims.
Two persons, four legs, and three wheels,
Travel through time and cross the space
Between the parking lot and springs –
Voila! All appear safe and sound
At the edge of Wakulla’s gem.
And in a moment – close your eyes!
Now open them to see the sun
Shining for the first time all day,
All the way down to the bottom
Where the manatees swim and dream.
The mammoth manatees awake
And begin to grow back their scales.
They transform and wait patiently
For the human girl to toss her
Wished-upon shell into the spring.
She finds the one and makes a wish,
Then closes her eyes once again,
While the practiced illusionist
Works his magic hidden by smoke,
And the shell falls from her fingers.
It floats to the coldest waters,
Slowly shifting back and forth as
Though it were swimming – and it is!
Transformed into a mystical
Creature, it sets the mermaids free.
The human girl jumps up and down
With glee at the beautiful sight:
Shimmering scales and flowing hair
Dart through water in their delight
And invite her to join and play.
The girl jumps in and kicks her feet
But must come up for air to breathe.
The illusionist watches this
From the sandy shore and he – Poof!
Bubbles at her feet slowly form
Into one glittering green tail
And her hair grows several feet,
Turning to gold under water.
The girl smiles wide and dives to
Join the joyful, playful mermaids.
They jump and swim and practice tricks,
Splashing around under the sun,
But the girl missed her life on shore
And looked longingly at the sand.
The illusionist saw this, too.
Since she had been the one to free
The mermaids from their trapped bodies,
He thought to grant her one last wish
And with a puff of brim fire smoke,
She was transported back to shore.
Her adventure complete, she spun
The wheels of the illusionist’s
Magic machine and was brought home
With the help of her companion,
The great entertainer himself.