Saturday, July 27, 2013

Andrew Jarvis- Three Poems

Water Waste

A rotten octopus no longer electric,
a mess of kelp strangling driftwood,
and shells, there must always be shells.

Sea cucumbers, seaweed, and snails,
a trilogy of neon green and woven brown
displayed as if offered to  some sea god.

The sea stars have rolled over,
their suction cups sucked dry
with no coral nearby to hug them.

A gull picks through the remains,
his beak sorting out sea bits,
so that nothing living escapes.

The crabs, the clams, the cockles,
he even digs in the beach
to ensure no life is buried.

He tugs at some fishing line,
struggles with it while releasing
that dead sea smell, that smell.

He does not stay long,
leaving to find the living,
wanting nothing of the dead.


The first found
goes to the girl,
the Kwakiutl cutter,
to flesh the man’s find,
from the dorsal down
to the tail tethered
by stakes at the sides.

How viscid it is,
creeping the back
to the blowhole, where
it flows to the flippers
to condense in fat
with plankton, salt,
and sea grass
grooming the sides –
a trove of red and white
baleen and bowels.

It pours
into her palms,
the first daughter
honored with flesh –
a luster of lard
gleaming in light:
a toast to the fat of it.

~Choreography (Johns Hopkins University, 2007)


The teeth chew deep,
tearing away tissue
and noshing at nodes.

There must be a way,
a bomb to blast that tumor
and spare the basal cells.

There must be a leash
to hold back the bite
of all dogging you.

They need a golden gun
armed with magic shot
to pellet its penetration.

If they can burn witches,
they can cure cancer.
Both work black magic.

And with no werewolf nearby,
there is a silver bullet for you.

Andrew Jarvis is the author of two published chapbooks of poetry, Choreography (Johns Hopkins University, 2007) and Sound Points (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). He holds an M.A. in Writing (Poetry) from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland. His poems have appeared in both of their literary journals, as well as the Weekly Avocet and the Federal Poet. He received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. He is a professional writer and editor, and he also have been an adjunct professor of English at the University of the District of Columbia.

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