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Boating Douzetuor


4 pm, I wake up. Rocking does it, a lilt.
The picnic sun hits the starboard where I’m looking.
It is a pendulum and soon I’m slumped over,
Dribbling a paper umbrella on navy stripes.
My girl’s wearing Jill St. John over her shoulder.
The sail’s snapping as softly as a dish towel,
Wicking on the magnitude of a thousand-fold.
The sky’s a powder of an early robin’s egg.
My ankles are crossed, for luck, I realize. They’re bronzed—
I am not wearing socks. For style, not to avert
The spongy indentations of water-logged feet.
Intangible comforts; nothing touches me here.


Under the thicket where eggs lay: They found me. Here
I am in a nest, a net set adrift. The lilt
Of singing in mystery, misery in bronzed
Wood. Weeks went, we weary, no lifting latches. Feet
Began to curdle. Lashes bloom from navy stripes.
So many of us bent like pins never unfold.
A month or who knows what day is, they are looking
To discard remains. These penguins peck robin’s egg
Blues of our cataract eyes. Dam of bones over
Which crabs fight to nest as they sink. Dolphins avert
Us; failing to save the half-dead. Flippers towel
Semaphores. Sea Maid, takes all under her shoulder.

Undertows: palavers, patois. New sounds shoulder
People. Our elements, earth’s sigils, bring me here:
The alloy of soldered Franco-English. Towel,
Sweat, settle. Veve, gris-gris, crossings. Navy stripes
And bloodshed, an oasis center. Their stars fold
Around new freedom, old burdens — we sail. Silt, lilt
Curlicue, quilled debt for Bonaparte’s loss. Looking
In paper, they scry bonds; we double-knot. Over
Cups, our hopes and secrets, cradled, broken. Avert
Damning spirits: copper tin syncretism. Bronze
Has the strength of both, double-lustred. My hands, feet
Glow. Sun, spray, dlo clay. Seals under a robin’s egg.

In time, space we’re close … Shallow sea a robin’s egg
Sheen. Anew world, a stone’s thrown over the shoulder.
Red, white, blue, from triangle to square. Unfurled, fold
Bills shaping a shoe insole. Pocket change, towel
Wrapped around a baby’s bottom. The navy, stripes
Of white on a stellar field of fifty. Me, here
On a sand bar: first-last stop, encuentro. Avert
Lingo, ethos, eth/no. My blanched surface, looking,
For renewed hope. Darkness lies in me too. Over
All, my image serves this país. Planted flag feet
First, sea breached. Mescla Goddess’ Caribeño lilt,
(Afro-Indio), Ibérica, tawny-bronzed.

There was a mute, rusty bell tolling for us. Bronzed
Hull dyed: skin, blood. Albumen sea, our robin’s egg
Shelter as moonlight conspires with dusk. A towel
Filters oceans. Creates thirst, slakes hunger. “Avert
The sun’s glare.” Some blind themselves in judgment. That lilt
Of dawn’s Fajr, from those who speak of this. Looking
For land, as sea urchins change to mammal. A fold
Of devotees, praying in deep blue. Navy stripes
Our mottled dark flesh in salt water. Yet over
There I see earth. We’re met in waves. Waving me here
Their hands, guns, motors say “Stop!” We’re drifting. Shoulder
To stern. Bow towards Mecca. Wudu for wading feet.

A shame for them. I saw the lifting of their feet.
They drop in, kill, fail, leave. Lift in metal, air. Bronzed
Stars greet them. Fall from the sky, they land home. Towel
Off napalm, blood. Some live now as we live. Avert
Mis-i.d’ed. Overseas Chinese. The navy stripes,
Strikes, indiscriminately. Hoa and Kihn, looking
Close enough. Bombing every epicanthic fold,
Taking every word variation for a lilt.
All I built before. The Saigon fall. Just me here,
With this sad rocking thing. A Hooded Robin’s egg
That’s gold. Handing us from the rich to poor. Shoulder
French burdens of war. White, blue and red bleed over.

Many unwar-war, “conflicts” were lost won over
Since Asia’s split, riven rim. Fat Man’s apex. Feet
Dig in to flag at Iwo Jima. Since then, fold
Flag’s triangles, hands over white gloves. Robin’s egg
Ao dai, fretting at the hem, binds, fitting, me here.
At sea, a breeze lifts, a hanging thread. A Thai lilt
Suspends above the waves as we approach. Looking,
Back at lost horizons of salt, that sun. “Avert
The pirates’ eyes.” Wind-burned women stolen, shoulder
Their sex’s unending burden. Husbands towel
Those tears, share threadbare brocade. God’s filament. Bronzed.
Re-formed thohng: thin white, red. Double-blues: navy stripes.

When we see the tankers we look for Navy stripes.
Those flags give a chance. Red fields chase us. All over
The sea. Borderless, in liquid state. Docked like bronzed
Baby shoes, dangling at the edge of string. “Towel,”
A pet name, slur, botching mother’s “Tufayl.” Shoulder
To shoulder await. “Nope” Abbott pithies. “Avert
Encouragement.” He means: it’s his big island … Lilt
Of Africa wafts welcome here from afar. Fold
Us among the dark of dīn. White port for me here
Then home where we will not be cast, cast out. The feet
Of Sydney’s sails, push us out of this Robin’s egg
Eye, cynic cyan peels, occludes. We cry, looking.

Oye: Cuando llegué aquí, I am looking
Por all los regalos blancos con navy stripes.
Cubanos recibieron. Pero yo shoulder
Los problemos de color y otros. El lilt
De mi acento no es dulce. Soy over
It. The blanquitos’ blue es blando, robin’s egg
Pero para nosotros es indigo. Fold
Into the other Blacks here. Saben y avert
White glimpses. Los conocen espiritus. Bronzed
Dioses que son entierran. Made from bole, feet
To peak, wrapped in bone color. Solace finds me here
Dimmed storefronts: Saline . . .  Over heads, a white towel.

When the ground broke, we waved the white flag, a towel.
That’s the Devil. Wind: priyè. In cupped hands, looking
For a bigger mass, not a trembling aisle. The bronzed
Coast, Miami. Not the Spain-stolen Caribs. Over
There they say we are not “us”. Every robin’s egg
Is blue, just as [e]lazuli. Vagaries of lilts
Nan batay yo. White stripes added to their flag, fold
At those seams. See? We’re so close. Mother’s Black shoulder
Shows under strands of beads we all wear. God, avert
The fight evil’s begging. Our Houngan’s navy stripes,
Borders the kerchiefs he wears. As he sings, our feet
Tap time. Gods’ morse to heaven and sea, hold me here.

Long ago, my people wouldn’t have found me here,
This rickety European smuggle ship. Towel
Around my hips soften this stacked cage. Robin’s egg
Chirps, guides me to San Marino. A navy stripes
This closed sea so on to Adriata. Over
Where Pavlopetri drowned, God gave us his shoulder.
We were turning. The sun captured in ember. Bronzed
Artemision Zeus, bolts us through sure skies. “Avert
The hold.” My deck ticket lets me live, swim. Looking
At, what? — a mirage, a map, a legend? A lilt
Of Italian. Messiahs, I paddle towards. Feet
Treading, pull half of me down. But my arms grasp, fold.


Tribes amalgam Europa. Loose constructs, we fold
Our differences in parchment. Regents sent me here,
An extension of their crown, their power. Towel,
Chamois, oshibori, I clean their mess. Over
Millennia they say “we” aren’t “them”. Our gang planks bronzed
Stock from Benin, porcelain from the East. Chained feet
Puff, bellow. To hold, a keep. Race, goods, we shoulder.
Corpus heads. They, delicate as a robin’s egg.
We’re all at sea for the crowned, fodder. Navy stripes
Across the chest, shots across bows. Death is looking
For us to feed its, our, masters. Greed Gods avert
Blue blood in foul water, chime minor bells… that lilt.


Power lies to avert peace. Christoph Robin’s egg
Blue clothes, bronzed Hans Christian’s beached mermaid. Fables fold
In tales, an army, navy. Stripes, badges, over
A mast. Towel, sail, one is cloaked in. We’re looking
At scale, it’s meaning. Waves lilt sound in a shell. Feet
Drag sand. Shoulders tapped with blades; their ships send me here.