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Ira Desmond Sep 2023
Our trajectory is unknowable, you tell me: the planet
corkscrews around the Sun, sure,

but the Sun corkscrews around a black hole at
the heart of the Milky Way,

and our whole galaxy travels on some mysterious,
incalculable vector. But sister, I saw a photograph

in which two whale sharks were brought to
heel by men in simple reed boats just

off the coast of the Philippines. All that they had
to do was often feed

the sharks many gallons of grocery-store frozen
shrimp, poured from plastic garbage bags into

their yawning six-foot maws to portside.
Gargantuan, sure, but still

as obedient and eager for food as backyard
squirrels. I remembered a grainy

internet video—I saw it probably seven or
eight years back—in which

a captured whale shark was winched
ashore in Madagascar, or

maybe it was the Philippines again—no matter—
the thing still had life left

in it and struggled to breathe while a crowd of
people gathered around—there were

women carrying babies, girls holding baskets atop
their heads—and then the

men came with a long slender blade and sliced clean
through the whale’s spine, vivisected it

right there on the dock, and the onlookers stood there quite
unfazed—I remember

being shocked at the effortlessness of the cut,
the pinkness of the whale’s blood,

and the boredom in the onlookers’ eyes. Our father
took us down to San Antonio

on one of his business trips there when we were five
or six—I think

you were probably too young to
remember it—

it was when you and I saw the ocean for the first
time. We drove down to the Gulf

of Mexico, and we saw waves breaking
out near the horizon in pale

sunlight. I kept scanning for a dorsal
fin off beyond

the breakers, thinking that I might spot one—
sandy brown, mottled with

cream spots and glistening—so that I might be able to
say to you, pointing, “look,

sister, there is a whale shark!” Years
later we would learn

that he traveled down to San Antonio so
frequently because he was a philanderer. As

a child I believed that whale sharks
crisscrossed the ocean following

paths that we couldn’t fathom, that
their concerns were somehow

beyond our comprehension, but then
Keppler pinned down

the shape of the Earth’s orbit over four
hundred years ago,

and the lives of ancient sea
titans are sundered

by men with indifferent faces.
Carlo C Gomez Sep 2021
He knocks.
Time, it's time,
the Kuroi Jukai within me.

Finding an unordinary
drifting off to sleep point,
a hollowed-out spot,
where I can let
God dream for me.

Whistles in the wind,
in lullaby the sky and sea
seem to trade places,
bending around me
as vertical blanketed surges.

My carcass is a colonization (of bones)
for my dearly departed ones,
forbearers of migration,
seeking endless sea,
until like them,
I settle upon
their ancestral shore.

Kuroi Jukai (Japanese, translated as Black Sea of Trees)
Tatiana Sep 2021
A large **** slashed open its side.
A collision with a boat we all think.
Though no boat has claimed its ****.
The wind whipped its scent through the crowd
a saltier tang than usual.
More concentrated; more direct.
Its chest heaved with the rhythm of the waves
as water poured into its lax mouth
expanding its chest
in a mockery of breath
before deflating again like a balloon spent.
Bites from opportunistic feeders
marred the solid gray-blue-white skin
with a pinkish hue
and gaping holes.
Its blood lingered in the dark green waves
a sandy-pink as it flowed with the current.
And people still swam in its wake!
Unperturbed by the dead still bleeding
or the funeral procession watching on
in a half-circle of grief and awe and humor too
as the largest of lives we don't normally see
lay dead on the beach.

I saw a dead whale on the beach and nothing can prepare you for the size of a whale. It was 54 ft long and completely lifeless.
Ira Desmond May 2021
Whales were,
above all else,

about the pace
with which they
moved through the world,
perhaps to a fault,
about the economy of movement
required to propel
such incredible mass over such
enormous, empty spans
of open ocean.

Here is a humpback whale
resting, face-down
staring into the cerulean
abyss, alone
but singing, perhaps for
enjoyment, perhaps out of
boredom, or perhaps due to
loneliness and longing.

She twists
and turns a single eye up toward
the surface, her iris catching  
sunbeams and contracting,
as she gauges
the gargantuan effort she must exert
in order to gain her next breath.
In this case, she concludes that, yes,
the effort will be worth it.

But what you must know about
whales is that
on rare occasion,
they would cast these concerns
of intentionality and efficiency aside,
and choose to
activate the entirety of their being,
from the sinews to the soul,
and propel themselves,
heedlessly and at top speed
toward, through, and past the surface of the ocean,
as though they were attempting to
fully take flight,
to escape, with finality,
the cold confines of their known existence,
the omnipresent, furrowed gaze of the void below.

But invariably,
and in spite of their best efforts,
the whales would be pulled
back downward,
by forces they could not
fully comprehend,
sure as the tides would fall shortly after
the moon passed overhead.

Yes, the physical impact of colliding
with the surface of the ocean
would be painful for the whales,
but what hurt
so much more than that
was having to return
to the stark, lonely calculus
of whether or not
to keep going.
Davina E Solomon May 2021
In an ocean of night, dreaming of a closed dining space / We were snooping in on a harsh conversation of strangers that we knew / Towards dawn you spoke / as real in the dream as an apparition in the real / of Father and Mother / of them cruising off on a road trip / You faltered at a word I recollect but won't spell / It absorbed into whale song ticking to a time piece / itching to signal morning / and I could feel the depth of many fathoms  floating over a waking to Spring / like being pressed against a cherry blossom trunk / in a tug of war, a push and pull / Let's go Jungian on this, he is much more pleasant / I did see a bumble bee yesterday, not a golden scarab, although that could have been a circadian premonition / and I woke up to a shower of blossoms //
This post was written for the North Atlantic Right Whale, of which sadly, only 360 remain. As per NOAA, " The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species, with less than 400 individuals remaining --- Whaling is no longer a threat, but human interactions still present the greatest danger to this species. Entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes are the leading causes of North Atlantic right whale mortality. Increasing ocean noise levels from human activities are also a concern since the noise may interfere with right whale communication and increase their stress levels".
The article cited below wades through many concepts including: mistrust of the unconscious, wake centrism, in a waking dream and refers to the cinematic treat 'Jacob's Ladder'. I'd like to return to this movie again someday, Tim Robbins was wonderful in this. I've quoted some part of the essay below. Poems sometimes just conjure like a mist above a fallow field, there's no logic to it, or is there? Maybe someday, the dream scientists will let us know.
Here is an interesting read about Dreaming [1]. Quoting part of the article here: The mind seems to grow fidgety and uncomfortable cooped up in a body 24/7. Mentally, dreaming is like taking off a pair of tight shoes at the end of the day: the liberated mind is no longer constrained by somatic sensory and motor processes. Reminiscent of common notions about the soul leaving the body in sleep, dreaming unfetters the mind from the world of matter; and, having vacated the body, consciousness is free to pandiculate, ponder and play. The dreaming mind stretches, yawns and reawakens in a strangely familiar place where it can time travel, dialogue with demons, get trapped in a mundane loop of doing dinner dishes or soar with angels. With Jacob’s ladder in place, the sky is literally the limit.
Payton Hayes Feb 2021
I was the sea and you were the whaler.
You cast your harpoon into my waters.
It never did catch a whale.
But you caught me time and time again.
This poem? prose? pretty thought? was written in 2017.
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2020
just before never...

my last performance,
the words came original
and easy, unlike all its
predecessors; someone
drew me a map of my
life and times, cities,
countries, and roads
well travelled and a few,
not too. Mountains, each with
a woman’s name, who carried
care, until she couldn’t, didn’t, and
time’s weathering returned us
individually into hillocks, and then
rain eroded us back into old soil.

the broad highways and back roads,
always snaking away, fork-forcing
directional choices, usually taking the
wrong way, the easy and safe one,
and how I have come to hate those
words: easy and safe, for they
are the pill combo that leaves you
for dead, dulling the questioning
one inquires of oneself, late, reluctantly.

But there is always the unexpected.

Today I saw a sunset on the Hudson
River with a humpback whale blowing,
running beside a river ferry, plowing the
waters back and forth tween two states.

Lived by this river for s e v e n t y years,
and have seen the whales in many places,
but here, in my city, in the river of my youth,

and I got the sign, message received, there
are still sights and poems to behold, arms to
embrace, youngers to guide if they’ll permit it.

so this title, these two,
just before,
this day, poem, came to remind me, the
days map remains unfinished, there are lands
and voyages and poems still awaiting drawing,
and it is tomorrow, and just before tomorrow, that
recording insistent demands, and a map is just a
moment in time, until just before...never

5:28 AM Thu Dec 10
2020 (a year deserving
of its own line and ending)

Manhattan, between two rivers.
Påłpëbŕå Nov 2020
The heart that beats

pumps the fluid I shed,

inking these sheets

with words in blood red.

I cannot ****

what's already dead,

I've got no will

so I won't find a way ahead.

Lost in my mind

these thoughts I thread,

while living in rewind

I curse the present instead.

Lonely like the 52Hz whale

I stay unheard & unsaid,

in this self-created jail

hallucinating the reality I dread.

I wish that I could resurrect,

like a butterfly from its skin shred,

all my broken parts could I collect

and piece them into poetry unread.
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