The Sea


θάλαττα (Thálatta)!

Daedalus smiled at Crete.


Note: “Thálatta (The Sea)!” is the joyful cry of 10,000 Greek soldiers when

seeing the Black Sea from Mount Theches after a failed five-day march against

the Persian Empire in 401 BC. Here, the ancient Greek phrase is used as an

imaginary declaration of Daedalus, the father of Icarus, as he was poised

to escape the island Crete, with his son on their fabricated wings, the wax of which

would be melted as Icarus flew too high toward the sun. It shows the duality of

human condition, longing to be free (away from the immured island of life)

on the one hand, and the futility of such actions, though not necessarily

the longings per se.





I'm looking


I'm looking.


The streets,

The shingles,

The void.


A sheet of blue,

Shards of white,

Some nothingness,

Many yous.


A wisp, a whiff, a blade,

Petrol, moor, grass, inflorescence,

The sun, the water,

Lethal, placid, freeze, fizz,

Parade,  variegation,  juxtaposition,

Crosscuts, you, the center,

In the blue.



A pinch, a whit, a train,

Silica, sun, set, Fall,

Continuity, dis,

Instant, whole,

Saga, impression, incantation,

Talismans, you, behind it,

In the white.


I'm looking.


The walls,

The floors,

The door.


A chamber of runes,












Little known,

Much you.








Aha, I told the world I’m a poet,

With all the brights above and the blues beneath,

I declared,

‘I’m a poet!’


I’m a poet without a kingdom,

Because I have no land.


I haven’t plucked my Ursa Major,

A She from those tears.

I swear,

Water and fire coexist,

And I live in sin with them both.


Aha, I peeped through keyholes, his eyes, her eyes,

Shivering without my outerwear,

My palms crossed over my shoulders,

My legs pinched, knock-kneed,

My pipes floating through my eyeteeth,

‘I’m a poet!’

Into the night came wind and tide,

No in-irons,

‘Bear off,’

‘Brail up,’


The poet said,

I said.



I am bleeding,

My sore-studded hide flushed with a damask drizzle,

Lights out,

My window a Cyclops in a black brick cowl,

Over the roof tar, tear repellent and rain proof,

A short-legged shorter-billed whip-poor-will is spurning her aerial kind,

Sycamores are bare, shades longer and lights colder,

The hag is warmed by nothing, her poor lecherous knockers two for one,

A croaky, squawky and womanly groan,






The last tinder of rawboned lindens,

Lumber carcasses,

Are chanting dirges for the Fall of their wooden chums,

Thumping litanies on glass,

An acoustic inscape they’ve jotted down for me,

‘Sahara, Niagara,

Que sera, sera,[1]

Qianlong[2] and Pothinus,[3]

Laissez faire et laissez passer,[4]

Selene[5] and Eos,[6]

Eleutherios[7] and Astraea,[8]

Esa es mi vida,[9]

C’est bon, C’est bon,[10]

Que buena fortuna!’[11]

Cocytus’ tintinnabulation,[12]

“Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,

Keeping time, time, time,

From the bells, bells, bells,”[13]

Of the snow, snow, snow

Capped Rockies,



A Fourteener, in land, in poetry, in us,[14]

No carat,

Just white,

Pure love.

Colorless, not lifeless,

Snowing in July,


Ave Amor,[15]


Ave Amor,


Ave Amor….


Oh Minerva/Athena/Pallas,

Scuto amoris divini,’[16]

Have you ever lost,

My moans and groans,

My angst-ridden, graft-riven and slug-riddled whole,

In the Gorgon-crying and owl-calling twilight of––[17]

Dunes and runes,

Runes and dunes,

And in all the ruby poppies I held out to your eye-cup––[18]

Weeping over the menarche behind my ashen flesh?


Oil, water, mucus,[19]

Stratified, petrified, mystified,

The lacrimal lake,

Yours and mine,

Sac, duct and cavity,[20]

Nihil ultra,[21]



They say now is all, and all is now,

How so?


The seven suns of jury deliberations,

To be,

Not to,

The Tendre[22] of nanna’s palms,

To burn,


Not to,

Monads’ Mauna,[24]

Dyads’ Amauna,[25]

In the Akh atremble,[26]

Through the Duat-enshrined,[27] Juju-cast and Hydra-swathed,[28]




Goodyears are pounding,

The lava of the sea and the tide of the land,

The cement of the smoke and the granite of the clouds,

The down of the heavens and the up of the Raven,

The vertebrae of a crushed cone, his coccygeal ego,

The celluloid of pumped Lancôme, her pandora labia,[30]

Lips’ selves,

Selves’ lips,


The future ungrown,


The past unsown,


See to the ‘box,’

The panis of the pyx and[31]

the pathos of the ‘pithos,’[32]

That no stone unturned,



And no end of,

The shady wood where

We go gather burs, with tramples,

Over the long haul for thorns,

Conifers, cycads and ginkgo,

All gymno-,[33]

Shadows down the bushfire,

Bared by the lone gold,

Guttering, glittering and littering,

With two hats on,

One false rib,[34] one valved heart,

One primrose, one dormilon,[35]

One fading lilt, one staying silence,

One cornucopia, one lacuna,

One puff of shivers, one lull in waiting,

Bringing one me,

To one you.


A poet.

I know.


I am, you know.




[1] Que sera, sera (Spanish): What will be, will be.

[2] Qianlong (Chinese): The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty.

[3] Pothinus: The most powerful eunuch in Egypt of the first century BC, most remembered for turning the Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII against his sister and later, wife Cleopatra, thus starting a civil war, and for having Pompey decapitated and presenting the severed head to Julius Caesar.

[4] Laissez faire et laissez passer (French): Let do and let pass.

[5] Selene (Ancient Greek): Goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.

[6] Eos (Ancient Greek): Goddess of the dawn in Greek mythology, the sister of Selene.

[7] Eleutherios (Greek): Literally, “the liberator,” an epithet of Dionysus, the god of winemaking and wine, ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy.

[8] Astraea (Ancient Greek): The virgin goddess of innocence and purity in ancient Greek religion, always associated with the Greek goddess of justice, Dike.

[9] Esa es mi vida (Spanish): This is my life.

[10] C’est bon, C’est bon (French): It’s good, it’s good.

[11] Que Buena fortuna! (Spanish): What good fortune!

[12] Cocytus’ tintinnabulation: Cocytus, meaning “lamentation” in Ancient Greek, is a river in the underworld Hades in Greek mythology.

[13] “Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle … the bells, bells, bells”: From “The Bells,” a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.

[14] Fourteener: In the mountaineering parlance of the Western U.S., a fourteener is a mountain peak with an elevation of 14,000+ feet. In poetry, a fourteener is a line consisting of 14 syllables, commonly found in the 16th- and 17th-century English poetry.

[15] Ave Amor (Latin): “Hail, love,” or “I salute you, love.”

[16] Scuto amoris divini” (Latin): “By the shield of God’s love,” motto of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. In this poem, it alludes to the aegis, a divine shield, carried by Athena.

[17] In the Gorgon-crying and owl-calling twilight: In Greek mythology, goddess Athena’s primary symbols include owls, the Gorgoneion, olive trees and snakes.

[18] Eye-cup: In ancient Greek pottery, eye-cups were drinking vessels painted with eyes to serve an apotropaic function like the staring eyes of the Gorgoneion, which is one of the symbols associated with Athena.

[19] Tears, oil, water, mucus: For humans, the tear film that coats the eye consists of three layers, lipid, aqueous and mucous.

[20] The lacrimal lake … sac, duct and cavity: In human eye, lacrimal fluid (tears) gathers in the lacrimal lake, later entering the lacrimal sac, onto the nasolacrimal duct and finally into the nasal cavity.

[21] Nihil ultra (Latin): Nothing beyond.

[22] Tendre: The Map of Tendre (Carte de Tendre) is a French map of an imaginary land called Tendre, showing a geography entirely based around the theme of love.

[23] Eïδομαι (ancient Greek): To know, to see.

[24] Mauna (also Maunitva): The practice of observing silence in Hinduism.

[25] Amauna: “Non-silence,” the opposite of “Mauna” in Hindu philosophy.

[26] The Akh: An ancient Egyptian concept associated with “intellect” or “consciousness,” as a living entity, which also plays a role in the afterlife, where the Akh is to be reanimated.

[27] Duat (also Tuat): The realm of the dead in ancient Egyptian mythology.

[28] Hydra (constellation): The largest of the 88 modern constellations, commonly represented as a water snake, thrown angrily into the sky by Apollo.

[29] “All-in-All”: A symbol formed when the serpent forms a ring with its tail in its mouth, representing the totality of existence, infinity and the cyclic nature of the cosmos.

[30] Pandora: Pandora is a taxonomic family of seawater clams, a burrowing mollusk with a bivalve shell that forms a “box” like Pandora’s box.

[31] The panis of the pyx: “Panis” means “bread” in Latin, as in César Franck’s song, “Panis angelicus (Bread of Angels).” The word “pyx” stems from the Greek word “pyxis,” meaning box or receptacle, used in a Catholic Church to carry the Eucharistic Host (sacramental bread).

[32] Pithos”: Pandora’s box was supposed to be a “pithos,” meaning a large jar in Ancient Greek.

[33] All gymno-: Confers, cycads and ginkgo are all gymnosperms, literally meaning “naked-sperms,” which are plants with seeds unprotected by an ovary or fruit.

[34] False rib: Aka “floating rib,” any of the lower ribs that are not attached to the sternum (the breastbone), and here, as an allusion to Adam’s rib used to create Eve in the Book of Genesis.

[35] Dormilon: A creeping herb also known as Mimosa, with its compound leaves folding inward when touched. The word “dormilón” means “sleepyhead” in Spanish.