Boat Poem

A tender rendering of Jeronimo Whitemountain by Jade Carmen

Jeronimo Whitemountain is a grisly and tough old man whom I met at a fisherman bar in Seattle, which happens to be the grayest town on the west coast. He had just grabbed and thrown a man  by the collar of his shirt onto the floor, just after the man had poked fun at an accessory Jeronimo was wearing. The accessory he was wearing was the carcass of a wolf, from head to hind paw, which he fashioned as a shawl around his stout shoulders. Intrigued, I bought him a gin and asked him if he’d ever heard of Billy the Kid. We got to talking and after two more drinks he was spilling  his love  of Rimbaud into me. He told me of his years at sea and how most of his friends now sleep with the fish. I asked him if he ever considered writing a memoir about the ocean. He replied, ‘Memoirs are for pussies’  and after a few moments of silently staring into his empty glass, he said, ‘ I only ever wrote poetry and  I only ever loved Eleanor’. He then pulled out of a small briefcase a sheet of letter-stock with his name handsomely printed in royal blue ink on the top right corner. He held the sheet out for a moment in front of him, then handed it to me, rose from the barstool, and left without another word. As he bumblingly left the bar I noticed a thin stream of tears climbing down his face. I looked down at the faded sheet of letter-stock he had left me and this is what I read:

 

BOAT POEM/LETTER

For Eleanor From Jeronimo Whitemountain 

It’s strange, I know,
but sometimes I cherish the wind out here.
I consume my image of you, embracing its
grandeur in the pit of my stomach;
my salty dog-ette.
The wind growls some, its only folly being
the slight freeze that heckles the skin around
my trachea and turns the skin to
goose-flesh.

In the bowels of this sloop,
where my dollars are counted
in sea-life,
my waking hours prove a liminal  blur.
I recall a drunk January
with the stigma of snow…. &
we almost wound all the way down
into the icicle-ridden marina.

I remember always how un-remorseful
the sea can be
& falling in is forgetting everything,
toes gnawed on by the herring.
I wake up and reach for the shore
but it’s missing. I get up and tame my hungers
with a slim can of white-chunk tuna in water. That’s
all there is here.

I extend my heavy yearnings through
the sputter
of an aged udder. I know that I’m a hunter
only really visible in breaths but
I swear I’m still with you. I swear
over and over, rocking with this current
in twilights daze,
slaving to a net
slaving to a cage
slaving to a sinister crustacean.

Nestled between a crane and a cot
I imagine  myself a reptile
climbing up the mast
in reverence to your plea…
Ah, to crash into an
insurgence of leaves, burying
my frosty nose into your womanly pit;
this intrigues me, implementing
my scales on to yours. I will return soon,
a sack of marred bones, fiending a huddle
broken by sexual favors.
I will return more man than child.
I will return holding the dark waters
as my insufferable pet.

-j


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