Frank Sherlock
The Sea a Battered Dream

Sky meets everything makes horizon liable


for flight then plummets of grace     Surrounded by people   feeling nah


there’s chatter I can’t make out    half-listening to


the dead      The voices are calling & it’s rare when


I am even half-ready          Rain bangs


against forest to get attention back     Let’s not


ask about presence & breathe absence in deep


There are no trees where we live but


today we’re somewhere else           Amphibians talk


syllable by syllable in the pitch of dark     The sounds fuck


w/ the inner ear until composed into


communiqués for worse or for better          Wherever


we are let’s find a coastline to skirt alone      Some things


need to be said along a fluid border    


I stood still so long to protect


existing ground but now the distance travelled


from your voice to mine is


a space that cannot be ordered       Not like it’s smooth


Me not interpreting your oppressor


language in the way that you can’t process mine      Tripped up w/


straight ahead statements betrayed by


loaded syntax    there are so few clean springs


left when the best ideas have run dark red w/ slaughter


Heavy sure but forgetting to lift


is a recipe for ghosts


There are already too many to talk to       It’s hard


not to step on shadows from birds up there &


now I find I drink so much


since amethyst is gone        So much loss but I like the way


you smile when you catch me ringing death knells


It took another city’s festival to make me at home enough to show


heartbreak     Of course it is a place that isn’t a stranger to storms



This rising sign spells danger in glue & glitter     Chart’s


been sent & god is it messy     togetherness brief   the forgetting     


takes so long          Let us keep going even if


these shoes aren’t conducive to lightness


There are those who were thrown off


boats out there    others sealed under the ground


They are not the deaths that do haunting


I’ve named love the way I would


a housebroke pet so it would only answer to me     I knew


better but in the end it was me who gave up


& simply obeyed the commands                    That happened


So not the type to care about idealized pasts but


what if some woman was the father of your country    What if


someone else was the mother of mine     What if


we didn’t need this at all  & it was always just there       It was


Thankfully the crash of horrors


is interspersed w/ extended downtime


Once it cracked sweet by our friend who wished a sports riot


would turn into general strike             That didn’t happen


Back to the bells   you like the way it


makes me smile when you scream Out Demons Out


at the on-ramp for a bridge to an island


Now it is time for a swim            Reptiles in water don’t struggle to


get each other     Leatherbacks touch     Loggerheads


meet in the sea     Wherever we are


will remain unnamed     by refusing attempts to own


Crushes     comrades     gossip confidants       float on


where the sky starts      All we can really say is something like toward




Found In Volume 47, No. 04
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Frank Sherlock
About the Author

Frank Sherlock is the author of Space Between These Lines Not Dedicated (Ixnay Press, 2014), The City Real & Imagined (w/ CA Conrad), Over Here (2009), and Ready-to-Eat Individual (w/ Brett Evans, (2008).