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Moby Dick on Speed

his name is Ishmael

and he’s depressed in Battery Park

nothing certain but the waves

feeling and water taking up room

instinct as a solid, the energy between

a deck of cards

the endless incorporeal

unforgiving, like a November night


I was 21 and terrible

singing my tunes to the seaport

empty

in a way that floods

Pearl Street, the cobblestoned line

running through us both

girl and protagonist

writer and His characters

during close readings,

I’d hear the sound of my shoes

hitting the pavement


Ishmael tries faith

before he turns to bed

lays with a warm man

and yes this worship soothes him

two boats gentle and alone

rocking towards the edge

how one night at sea can save

sad stories like us


my man was savior too

rough to my soft and i was fixed

on him and his ways

portending like a reversed card


the first symbol revealed

to me a forlorn addict

at the helm like an apparition

a premonition

my lee shore

the place I am most bound

to land


then he’s on a boat,

our Ishmael lost in thought

a boy and his ideas

becomes a container for life —

a whale is no longer animal

but scripture; life dissected

rearranged into long, damp

inscrutable sentences

some punk kid

slumped in a crows nest

sorting it out for us

like God,


how vivid the story of my life

projected onto pages of ambergris

how tragic

the naïve ability

to find yourself in anyone

and like a zealot

I make this my holy book

Melville himself

walked the same line

dreamer, worshipper, vessel

Ishmael Ahab the Pequod:

bronze statues tall and rusting

in my oceans of thought


I found my faith in this novel

met my Lord as the fool

first found religion as obsession

an idea on drugs, an eternal retracing

like the line like that street

where we were first borne

Manhattan becomes the World

the cycle begins new

my heart, Ishmael’s daydream,

this story forever rising

sinking into eternal

unknowable waters

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