Boat Delivery

Down the sidewalk from my house,
a few blocks away,
a boat rests on a trailer
next to a truck parked in the driveway.

I guess the neighbor
bought the boat
from a boat store,
but I like to imagine
a massive wave
carried the boat from the lake
and left it here.

Of course,
no fishes or people
were harmed in the wave’s crash.
The fishes that were in the wave
took a bus back to the lake.
I doubt they had money for bus fare,
so maybe fish can ride buses for free.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. This poem is in my book, The Dancing Fish.

Brook Trout for Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road is a bleak read, as it centers on a man and boy’s experiences in a post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s rough for what some survivors do to keep surviving.

The novel’s last paragraph stunned me. That doesn’t happen often as I read, but a handful of writers have had that affect on me with the emotional impact and precision of their language. Besides McCarthy, other authors include Karen Russell, Ray Bradbury, Kelly Link, and Harlan Ellison.

Let’s steer back to The Road. After reading the novel, I felt inspired to draw my interpretation of the last paragraph. The above drawing is the result. Apologies for the watermarks. I spent a lot of time on this drawing, and I didn’t want someone to grab it and use it in their own project.

I won’t quote the last paragraph here, since I believe a large part of its impact comes from the journey of reading all the paragraphs before it. A full journey on the road, rather than flying to the end.

But if you want to skip all those other paragraphs, you can read the last one here.

Imperfect, the Spoonseat (‘Ulysses’ pages 620-670)

Photo of a school of fish
by Lance Anderson/Unsplash

Imperfect, the spoonseat:
wooden profundity,
metamorphoses to inverted basket.

Possible amusement:
fish on bicycles
excelled in world’s wheels games.
Power race!

Theoretical catastrophe:
Harry cut time,
making hour suppressed.

Turningpoint of nightblue atmosphere:
luminous constellations rendered unstable.
space furled, unfolded in design.
Inverted days!
Unhooked minutes!

Parrot countrybound:
course to discovery.

The Dancing Fish

Illustration of fish dancing on surface of the ocean, as a lighthouse's light provides a spotlight

As you know, during the ocean’s day,
schools of fish swim and play.
When the sun lowers to the west,
most of them slowers to rest.
As the day switches to night,
a lighthouse switches on its light,
and Jonah swims to the surface
for fun of a different purpose.
He inhales deep, holds it in,
leaps from the water with a spin,
then he dances on waves
that become the stage he craves.
Wearing a top hat,
twirling a cane like an acrobat,
Jonah tap dances on fins,
jitterbugs with wide grins.
The lighthouse’s moving beam
makes a spotlight supreme
that Jonah follows extra quicks
while performing his tricks.
Jonah puts on a good show,
seen not just by the fish below,
also by Bob the lighthouse keeper,
with his astounded peepers.
Bob told people of the dancing fish,
but they said, “Oh sploshy splish,
you were just dreaming.
Your imagination was gleaming.
Fish do no such thing,
just like they don’t sing.”

What about you, dear reader?
Of frolicking fish, are you a believer?

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. Included in my book, The Dancing Fish.

A full-color version of this drawing is available on T-shirts and other products on my Redbubble store.