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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/29/21

Six Pack of Sonnets: My Secret Sharers, My Life of Luxury

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Asuka, a luxury liner
Asuka, a luxury liner
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by John Kendall Hawkins


I: Secret Sharers


I shuffle, bored, the sinking ship of state

sails due east in a sea, Gallo wine red,

brown noses with brown bags call the deck bed,

all around me is iniquity, hate

in the eyes of passersby, GÃ del stairs

every which way and loose, up and down;

Gus in the tower duckrabbit blackbrown,

but who the f*ck has time to split those hairs?

17 stories of happy people --

a mall asea turned Auschwitz:

kristallnacht defenestrations, and t*ts,

chase scenes up and down the seaswash steeple.

Beside myself, my own secret sharer,

a soft simmer day, without a carer.


II: Mature Age Wasteland


Captain Eliot was the consummate a**hole,

who beat his wife repeatedly with verse;

she suffered as through a hysteric's curse --

Wasteland muse and siren, wide Sarcasso

Sea all ashimmer with plastic disease

no breaker can chop its way through to rhymes.

And Virginia wanted to ring Tom's chimes

for popping Viv's wine and leaving her lees.

Tom and Ezra in the captain's tower

fighting*, missed out on maids who sang to them,

seaweed leis and shimmies, angels pro tem,

as they fought oer poetical power.

Well, I'm drowning in consciousness, burbling,

"Helb mwe um dwowneen imb Woke." Disturbing.


III: Enron Is Evil in Mr. Robot


The Enron ship fell down a flight of stairs

and bankers laughed all the way to themselves,

tinkling, jingling like little savage elves,

and the rest of us shrugged and said, Who cares?

On the Ship of Fools, Katherine Anne Porter,

entertained the Nazis -- slaves in the hold

foretold of schweinhunden seas ahead, gold

locks, blue eyes guard the Valhalla border.

Now ancient Ice is breaking and melting,

Inuits can no longer intuit;

their noses fall off when they kiss. O thit!

and ol' Station Zebra takes a pelting.

Bob said, When Quinn gets here, we'll jump for joy,

and, at world's end, we'll still cry, It's a boy!


IV: Luxury Cabin Fever


So many folks packed in like sardines;

wall-to-wall perspiration -- scent of sea

saved us from ourselves, savages roiling;

junior geezers emojied recoiling

gestures, and some said, This would suck for free!

But f*ck 'em all: I voted Nader Greens.

Shoulda eschewed the luxury liner

though, my timeshare cabin had been abused

and, sure, there were sea sights -- vast waves of phlegm.

Yet Anne was demure, a real fatal femme

in that certain light, late of day, j'accused

of unpeeling me to McCoy Tyner.

The always rough and ready seas obl ahged.

Outside they squabbled, like Muslims unhadjed.


V: Roll Out the Barrels


When men play submarines and destroyers,

How deep is your love? charges seem to ask,

and some torpedo has the right answer.

Sometimes the situation has cancer

though; love goes astray, not up to the task --

Lusitanias sink, and it's lawyers.

I once sailed from Istanbul to Izmir

to check out the wise and so ancient world,

sure she'd bend down low to coo in my ear,

but the service sector filled me with fear

some post-mod Turk spat, a bottle was hurled,

and I ran, and he laughed, Look at the queer!

I took in the briny breath of the sea

on the trip back back from living history.


VI: Bogie Double Bogies


Ol' Ahab was obsessed with a sperm whale

and cried, Where the f*ck are my strawberries?

And obsessives, when they get on a roll,

go all Canon and rant about the "soul"

and mates laugh and clap, make with the merries,

sing shanties and tell a long involved tale.

And Ol' Ahab got so bent out of shape,

the fellas sailed for the nearest chiro;

he wouldn't help the tars with Cap'n gism;

he was sold as abstract expressionism

and private Melville took out his biro,

while the salty ones proceeded to vape.

I'd say heaps, but I'm no Bartleby whore,

and I strongly prefer to say no more.

* inspired by Dylan's "Desolation Row"

(Article changed on Aug 29, 2021 at 12:02 AM EDT)

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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