Thursday, July 1, 2010

Guest Blog: The Disabled Boat

Steve Gunther-Murphy works in IT Healthcare at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. He's been writing poetry since the seventh grade, has had works published in a variety of magazines and poetry journals, and has given poetry readings in Hawaii, Colorado and California. The following poem, first published in Pulse Magazine, is dedicated to his friends Teresa Harris and Ellen Case.


Drifting on the sea of disease
in a cardboard boat,

never knowing when the slash
of a spinal eel
will lunge from its coral-bone cave
and cut through
the threads
of a once dancing ankle
or the push of a thigh
singing race or run.

Waiting without wanting--
as the slap of a wave
against the paper-thin stern
then bow
brings on the storm
that pummels every movement
until you slip into a coma of the wind;

your sails ripped from the mainstay
and the tar between the rails
yelling like the death of a two-year-old child.

You wake weeks
and notice
that your keel is gone;

your body shakes like a rock cod against
the pith of the boat's floor
with the hook deep in your gill;
making you talk in slow motion
and without air.

Who wants to live this life
of a shadow fish,
pulled from the depths of who you were
and gutted of simple motions
or the ability to sing glee from your gullet?

This is not the space I am.

This is not the blue snap of yesterday
that burst forth from my mother's womb
like an iris
on an island of moss rock.

- Steve Gunther-Murphy

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