Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tad Wojnicki: MOAN TRAIL

In Monterey , or "Moan Trail," as jokers quip, seals moan in the Fisherman's Wharf. Living close, I hear it through the wall. At midnight, it breaks my heart, and I bolt out of bed. I breathe the brine, rot, and diesel watching the fishing boats steal out like Christmas trees without the gifts.

wharf wind –
oyster shells
pried open

squatty boats
garland bulbs
what if fish spoke?
Under the public deck, the Wharf has a stinky, barnacled deck for the crews. Seals like the deck. The salts throw them heads and tails. They roll in dung, crying love. I hear yelps of kicked curs, groans of kneaded muscles, whimpers of delight, snickers of pleasure. They cuddle, wrapping necks, flapping fins, knocking off. The brine washes gaping wounds. Each cackle, sigh, and moan drives me nuts. Often, I hear my lover coming, making me moan. I cringe at the show, yet I stay. Neighbors are drawn to bedroom noises.

after moaning
listening to
the heartbeat

mist soakes me
did it think
I was on fire?

Sometimes I hang out till morning, shunning my bed. "Why did she leave me?" I puff. Falling off my feet, I fail to quit. I watch the surf hugging the barnacled pillars. I thud the empty deck, full of moans, waiting for the boats. What gift do I expect? Other life?
When I finally head for the Squid Row Cafe, the other life already burdens the boards, hugged by crushed ice -- blushing crabs, thigh-sized bonitos, every rainbowing thing. The wharf grows gray with fish scales.

fish market
in cod’s eye
sun rises

drizzly dawn
moans fade out
into idle chat


by Tad Wojnicki
Hsinchu City, Taiwan
first published in Tattoo Highway, #9

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