Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Driftwood Men

And they swam and drug their battered bodies upon the sun-drenched shore
Pieces of driftwood drifting into and out of high tides and low tides
But breaking on the rocks they looked up asking for some semblance of an answer
And on those rocks stood saints so dry, balancing baskets of fish
Casting one after the other and with them a wish for the waves to break no closer
And to taste that meat, that fish, the driftwood men licked cracked lips with dry tongues
But no, the saints were not to be bothered, they must first wake up God
For man is drifting from him they spoke, sure of it he must be spurned and awoken
But God slept, with nothing to look at, he closed his eyes and the drifters made fire from each other
Arsonists! With nowhere to put the ashes of rivalries and triumphs or calamities
No dock, no sandbar, the only place to get a dry martini!
And lips stayed dry, and eyes stayed dry even as smoke smoked out tiers of tears
The drifters’ driftwood fires crept higher and enrobed the beach in colorful bonfires
And salt has persistently beaten about the noses ‘til only a wind revived the smell.
But the smell was the catalyst, it heretofore was the sacred sense
So the driftwood men pulled each other out of the fire, still burning, still smoking
Running to the sea, lighting darkness as they ran, they doused each other until no fire was left
And once the drifters sat in darkness and ebbing tide revealed more driftwood, then work began
A beacon of hope but without the light, no guides in the ever thickening black
The driftwood drifters put together each other and in solidity devised a raft
The willful were plentiful and the work went swift, each drifter relying on the other
And as the night pressed on, waves breaking and building the shore as it was given a new face
But finally the sun was pinking the sky and night was aft to dawn with the past riding on its back
Sun came quickly waking the driftwood drifters, and they saw what they built together without ego
A raft had been fastened while the hungry fasted alike with the well fed drifters
No one could claim credit, as dark secured anonymity, what they had made was made, no turned backs
And as the sun crept higher and the day got older the saints returned with their baskets
They gaped at the raft and at first dropped the baskets then turned to run for the pope
The drifters calmly collected the food, with no one to direct how it was to be divided
Then they loaded the raft, with room to spare, and set to making a sail
The first order was cast with everyone in cadence, for all were to remove the shackle clothes
And modesty was not found for everyone looked around and then the sewing was begun
The patchwork sail was slowly formed and for the first time the drifters spoke to each other
Then it was lifted on high and attached to the beam and the raft was sea-worthy in the sun

Then a march or a mob or the marching of a mob was capping the sand capped dunes
In progression as demanded by the written rule of fallible men
The pope in the front flanked with bishops and eyes set and stern
They left only footprints that the wind picked up and left swept
They came on the drifters who were anchored for the first time, all nude and merrily talking
The shock of the free was felt to the bone of the be-robed, be-speckled old men
At first the pope coughed but silence did not happen and he looked to the bishop for help
The bishop made noises and got their attention and for the first time the group smiled at the other group
The pope spoke first his voice unsure, he demanded an answer for the raft
When nothing returned he changed tactics and asked why everyone was nude
Not a cough, not even for fake politeness, the polite group just smiled in freedom
The pope and his clergy exchanged glances and turned to confer with their backs to the crowd
Whispers were whispered and the free people just laughed and spoke aloud
A verdict was reached and the pope was to prophesize doom for those who rafted
He began with his scripture and turned to a tale of Genesis
Once he finished he smiled half-cocked at the supposed sheep, his eyes smug, the words were his drug
And he waited for the raft and the sail and the fish to be taken down and returned to be rationed

But a young girls spoke with no fire, she simply asked the pope to repeat the part before the tree
When he finished she finished him, she said “Father, we have returned that apple, that is the gift of man,
We are no longer shackled we have repaid that sin, and the gift we received was immodesty,
No ego now father, no snakes in the grass, no one is lying, there is nothing anyone wants to steal,
We are happy now father, we are fed and the food was better than the wishes.”
The pope acted smoothly despite the inward rage, he expected to turn the tide
But the real tide was moving in and the drifters were moving out, they prepared to launch the raft
His words were batted and swatted like flies and they died on the churned up sand
The saints were speechless, the pope was preachless and the drifters were soon asail and reachless
The shore became a speck, and the lighthouse was ignored because the drifters were now adrift
They weathered storms and passed the shores where new saints stood waving from rocks
Not the sun, not the moon, not the stars, not the food was better than that achingly beauteous freedom
And for forty years they drifted with anchor on the bottom and became tanned and strong
Then a shore was found with no rocks and no saints and the drifters landed carefully
A camp was made, then two camps were made and split the land in half
The raft became legend, the people were just tolerated as new saints and popes appeared
And to counter the saints, kings were anointed with a deception of the majority
A sad thing was brewing, but the inevitable was too and the new world ended as it began,
Nude people not by choice this time and clothed people, both claiming to hold the key.
The habitats were soon reduced to the drifting driftwood that drifted until it was thrown up by the sea.

No comments: