Mediterranean Philosopher (‘Ulysses’ pages 671-732)

Photo of a sailboat on the sea, with a storm approaching.
by Boba Jovanovic/Unsplash

This is the last poem in the project, as we’ve reached the last page of the Dover edition of Joyce’s Ulysses. As luck would have it, the words lent themselves to come up with a poem about Odysseus and his journey home. Well, very roughly about the journey. And, who knows, maybe one of the sailors on the ship was named Raymond.

Mediterranean philosopher
bearing formidable years:
migrations on windy sea.

Land leavetaking,
recurrent snakespiral movement
with smellow course,
everchanging travelled.

Wonder somewhere,
he lost the ways,
madly crossing where
tattarrattat music
(like breathing)
brought trouble,
snapped careless men.

Shake possessed sailors:

Captain, winds going crookeding miles,
whistling badtempered.
“Sweet horror!” said Raymond.

Castoffs sing moon heart.
Fish dances,
telling of universe deepdown.

A Kind of Heaven

The photo is of two women on a small rocky island in calm waters with mountains in the background.
from Google Photo Frame

A serene image is the prompt for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #113. Can’t you envision yourself in the scene? Looks like a lovely place to be. This story was also lovely to create…

A Kind of Heaven
by Dave Williams

Spring brought pollen that caused sneezes and itchy eyes in some people, and spring brought warmth that scratched some people’s itch to get on the water without feeling they were following the path of Ernest Shackleton’s famous expedition.

Which was Janine’s description of being on their sailboat in winter. Which caused Mikayla to sigh and call her wife melodramatic. At least Janine was open to going for walks — as long as she bundled up. The walks were good for exercise, good to breathe fresh air, and a good way to get out of the house during Covid-19 limitations. Their favorite restaurants were open only for take-out and delivery. The couple picked up restaurant food on weekend nights and ate while wading through seasons of TV shows they had heard were entertaining.

Then spring. Warmth, green, dots of other colors, louder bird singing. Mikayla and Janine unshackled from their home and drove to the docks to their home away from home: Lucy Pevensie. The ladies were unmasked, the boat was untied from the pillar. All were set free and felt wind on their faces, water underneath. Like being part of a song. At first, Mikayla and Janine’s actions knocked off the little rust that accumulated during winter, then they moved smoothly.

Warmer weather brought picnic weekends, and the race from the dock to claim the popular picnic spots. This Saturday, the early alarm woke both women, and Mikayla dressed while Janine begged for a few more minutes in her coziness under the blankets. Mikayla’s threat to leave without her was enough for Janine to get out of bed. Lunch had been packed in the fridge the previous night. Mikayla and Janine transferred the food into a cooler and tote bags, and set off for the dock.

Then aboard Lucy Pevensie and on the water. The morning air tasted fresher than their usual, later hour of starting off. They maneuvered to catch as much wind as possible while aiming for their favorite island. Not just their favorite, but among other boaters, too. They managed to pass Third Wish, belonging to the affable Hoovers, who always were up for sharing their margaritas (on the rocks).

“Better luck next time!” Mikayla shouted.

Doug Hoover shook a raised fist, but he was smiling. Also smiling was his wife Valerie, who gave a peaceful wave.

Mikayla and Janine anchored near the island, loaded the inflatable raft, and declared the day’s victory as the raft bumped the rock and they scrambled on it. The island was a large rock with a few tough trees growing in dirt lodged in the cracks.

The women would spend the day in a kind of heaven. Listening to the gulls and lapping waves. Looking at other boats and fantasizing about the horizon. Feasting on a variety of goodies and sipping wine. Smelling the salt air. Lounging in the sunshine like turtles.

And even Janine would plunge into the chilly water for quick swims, given the promise of a warmed towel and sunshine to dry her.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams