They dreamed of sirens whose haunting arias Could whisk them willingly to oblivion, Shipwrecked with lust. Who would resist the chance, Roped to the mast like Odysseus to risk The heightened edge of consciousness, Not quite blacked out but almost. Any seal or manatee might be a mermaid Willing to trade her tail for love Or money like the whores in the gaudy ports. Tales of women like flying fish Skimming the waves to flop Spread-eagled on deck. Longing For beauty, they settled for buggery. A notion of water sprites immured them In the hammocks of tossed nights When it seemed that land would never Be sighted, that the maps promised dragons, This voyage the last one. Shanghaied they sailed The seven seas of imagination Keelhauled with a ration of rum And hardtack. The brutal lash, The numb days of stagnation When any story was better than none.
About the Poet:
Joan Colby’s Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage was awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Her recent books include Her Heartsongs from Presa Press, Joyriding to Nightfall from FutureCycle Press, Elements from Presa Press .and Bony Old Folks from Cyberwit Press. She has another book forthcoming from The Poetry Box Select series titled The Kingdom of the Birds which should be out next August.
This was beautiful.
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