dan, you’re a boat


Who, me? I’m your favourite late night
news and chat show prostitute.
And you, the kamikaze pilot
who packed a parachute.
and through that last long, hot and dry
dusty summer southeaster
we were faithless electors,
ghost repeaters
both busy seeking our poison of choice’s
most potent antidote.
or some half-remembered poem
we’d so love to misquote.
Together we were three good years of IOUs and
a promissory note.
After that, you ask what now are you to me?
Dan, you’re a boat.

In truth, I am,was, always will be
your intruder in the dirt,
blowing addlepated boogaloo
in a Geoffrey Beene shirt.
When your delinquent past you buried
I was the nudie-suited pallbearer
obscured behind banjos, bad jokes
and ever-present wayfarers
We each gouged at every single speck
and pretending not to see the mote
were raised love like an idiot stepchild
on whom we so would dote
each confessing or barking I love you
as each was trying to clear their throat –
and you ask now, where in me, do you lie?
Dan, you’re a boat.

Yet, when I threatened to really fall in love with you
you always found a way to stop me
like that guy who once told Elvis
not to come back to the Opry.
The disease in me was the insidious reason
you were blameless in defiance –
yet as you finally softened into faith,
I hardened into science.
I’ll admit I was your “blue in green’s”
single sour note
I was the one loose thread that
would have unravelled the hem of you coat
and who, up in Las Gatos,
would want to see your petticoat?
So, as you ask what is your memory to me
Dan, you’re a boat.

This entry was published on 08/10/2013 at 1:30 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

62 thoughts on “dan, you’re a boat

  1. This is a stupid poem which should have, in all fairness, preceded the previous poem. It turns out that poems like this – hell, poems of any stripe, are a bad way of clearing those amassed debts and promissory notes.

    • Ah but a bad way to clear can create a satisfying poem… as here!

      • ha smiles…i def. agree….

      • There’s the rub, darlin’ – it isn’t really a satisfying poem. It’s the shell of a poem, it’s a good start to a poem, it’s bits of a useful poem but it isn’t, in and of itself, a whole poem. I’m not happy with having to do work that I don’t have time or the perspective to do right.

    • It’s not stupid. This poem is the end of the rainbow. It isn’t a pretty place, but it is at least an end. You talked about the start of a new rainbow last time, so all is fair.

    • Why, if it is so stupid, did you post it? You are so notoriously reluctant about posting – why are you putting up something you clearly don’t endorse?

      • I don’t much care for the fact that I was forced (by myself) to write it, to account for things that should have been accounted for previously. It’s a poem that has no shelf life. I don’t fell I’ll be able to look back in 3, 6, 12 months and go “yes, that poem is still valid now”. It is of and for the moment and I would have liked longer to think about it. But that’s the problem – once you start posting these things, you can’t leave gaps in the narrative arc. And this story deserves a better, more organic telling than it has here.

        Quick note – 16 months later, I revisit and find this utterly true and charming. See, I really don’t know nothin’ about nothin’

    • I don’t think this is stupid. So maybe I’m stupid, but any poem that includes Nudie suits (only thing I like about the South), “Blue in green’s” single sour note, and all the love anti-love burial rebirth condundrum… well, I read it twice. So yeah, if that makes me stupid, I’m the freakin’ queen!! Amy

      • I have to confess, I don’t actually have a nudie suit. It has, however, been my lifelong ambition to own one!

  2. Pingback: Straightforward Poems for Straightforward People | tarnation and eudemonia

  3. Myke Todd on said:

    I am having vision issues today… not wearing my glasses right now, so I had to practically press my nose to the screen to read this, but it was more than worth it… There are so many times I wish I could feel this strongly toward someone I write about; there are other times I wish I did not… It’s all (greater than) good.

    signed: Myke

    • Hey buddy – made some format changes that hopefully make the blog easier to read.

      • Myke Todd on said:

        I am having a devil of a time, figuring out all the bells and whistles of my new place. I am hoping it interacts with yours, in a workable sort of way.

      • Have you told the Small Circle of Friends where you are? they’ll put you in touch with a whole bunch of still blogging ex MySpacers – you don;t have to be native to WP, I don’t think. And drop your new addy here,too!

    • Myke Todd on said:

      I just figured out, I could follow you from the Blogger site. Now, I will look for the Small Circle of Friends site…


  4. The light bulb flickered flicked and then sighed on out as I read this….I’ve been stranded in the South too long

    • If I didn’t love California so much I’d settle for being stranded in the South any day. I’m a Southern boy 🙂

      • I know…it’s a toss up sometimes. This made me feel that longing. But now I know why you are the story teller you are….!

      • come home, then

      • I was raised in the Northeast, but I’d give a lot to live in California once again. Lived there in my salad days. I think my knock on the South might have been unfair. If you’re a Southerner, that cancels out my douche canoe of a brother-in-law…

      • There’s a whole mess of good things in the south – the May river in south Carolina is a good thing, the big fish fry in Paris Tennessee is a good thing, the tybee island lighthouse is a good thing, the public library in Mandeville Louisiana is a good thing the pretty girl’s in oglethorpe square is a good thing, yat is a good thing yoknapatawpha county is a good thing Lucinda Williams is a good thing and the Baltimore Orioles are a very good thing. I could go on….. 🙂

  5. I feel like I am overhearing a private joke and I don’t get it… what’s a boat?

  6. You’re right, this is a bookend to last weeks, but it feels like you are scrambling to save face after your damning Dan with feint praise last time out. not that there’s a lot of praise in this – there’s a certain satisfaction in the sheer voyeurism of it and that knife-twist frankness that seems to be manifesting itself in your work recently, but it doesn’t have the “sigh” factor of the best work. I think you wrote this because you have to. Poems may not pay off the debt but maybe they do a little to wipe the guilt?

    • Even if I felt guilty about anything, the answer would be no. That’s not the job of poems. if anything, they set the guilt in concrete.

  7. You and Dan were my favorite soap opera back in 2009-2011. I feel bad saying that but there it is. You both deserve to be happy, even if it isn’t with each other.

  8. I love both of you. It’s good to see you making nice-nice again. I like the upbeat ending here – and who, up in Las Gatos, would want to see your petticoat? – that made me laugh.

  9. Even when you write lazy poetry like this, your word spells can still raise some interest.

  10. Petticoats? She can barely be caught wearing panties, let alone a petticoat!

  11. How did things ever get so far? I don’t know. It was so unfortunate, so unnecessary… We’re quits. And if Seb agrees, then I’m willing to let things go on the way they were before.

    You know what bugs me, deep down, when it comes to a poem to pay debt? Kel and Anna and even that girl back in Savannah – they got the good poems. They got the poems that had what Goldie up there got the sigh factor. i got ones that were no less intimate but they were intimate because they were precise and real and they let people see day to day minutae, they let people examine the relationship – which is all very exciting but I was always a little disappointed to see them get the romance and me get the reality. It was only a little disappointment, because a poem is a poem and a truth is a truth, but it was a cumulative disappointment. That’s my only complaint. The rest of it, the whole deal, was great fun. A heady time. I learned a lot. And you’re right – you can run up a debt with poems but you can’t ever hope to pay it back.

  12. Ah, your words never fail to reach beyond expression. I love this one!

  13. yoko1ohno1 on said:

    The long, slow look back after goodbye. Beautifully said, soulfully stated.

  14. Bad poem? Are you mad? I have been blogging about a year, reading all kinds of poetry out there, and though I rue the fact that you put something out so infrequently, you are easily one of the best voices in this space. I loved this poem. It’s like a complete fresh breeze on a beach, or a perfectly-mixed rye and ginger in the shade. I can’t say enough. I seldom sit back and read every word of a poem carefully – it has to have a certain appeal, a confidence and voice and rhythm, to get me in. Yours always do, this did too (stupid poem and all).

    • Hey man – that’s such a nice thing to day, thank you.

      I don’t post much because of the reason I don’t care much for this poem – things have to sit and find their purpose with me, usually it takes me a long time to write something I think is worth adding to the canon (even as rushed as this one is, the word “insidious” took a week to prove itself worthy of making the draft!). And once something is out, I expect it to be the final word – and this just doesn’t seem a worthy final word for Dan, she was a good old boat! Especially seeing I was so pleased with the previous poem, and all…

  15. liverloverlass on said:

    Beautiful and so sincere. And I love the way you always stick something in that I have to google or think about sideways – ‘blue in green’ . I watched a clip on YouTube. Is there a sour note in that, it’s lovely!

  16. I normally hate rhyming poems, except yours. You do rhyme so intelligently.

  17. Seb, you have a mystical way of taking us places we never even knew still existed………. I’m grateful for the trip and for the entertainment. Love you, Me

  18. Sincerity and rawness are never stupid. And ability…gift…art…of being able to say the things you want so directly, without sugarcoating whatever comes your way…it isn’ t stupid either, or ever could be. Powerful, Seb.

    • That’s a cool think to say, thank you. maybe I should clarify – the poem is stupid, the forces which underpin it are, indeed, formidable.

  19. I kinda like that – Dan, you’re a boat. In what way are you a boat? You float? You sink? You spend much of your time on the water? Still, I like it!

    • It’s a long story. First of all, it should be “Seb, you’re a boat – Dan, you’re an egg” but that’s for another day.

      Used to be, when we was a’wooin’, Dan’s catchphrase when some kind of tomfoolerlery (usually sexual and of the variety still illegal in Missouri) was suggested was “Seb (anyone else she was talking to), you’re a spazz”. Which, in time, became “XXXX, you’re a spazzbo”. Which, as language is wont to do, portmanteau’ed with her other favorite rejoinder “That’s/you’re/don’t be/let’s get retarded” to become spazzbotard, which became ‘botard, which became boat. Hence, boat = anyone or thing with wishful, fanciful, imaginative and fondly rejected ideals.

      Egg was short for egregious and usually meant “it’s awful but let’s do it anyway” and was most frequently said in the car park at the Walmart on Elk Grove Boulevard.

  20. lindastoria on said:

    Love the poem, not so sure about the format change….

  21. I have to concur with Trent Lewin on this poem, Seb. I could write my whole life and probably the next and never get close to a poem this good. I once bought a car at the Vokswagon Dealership in Elkgrove, but I didn’t see any boats there. The salesman, however, was kind of a spaz.

    • Really? I have a Volkswagon, too! As much as I try to feel bad about it (I traded in my RX8), I rather like it. It gets me all in touch with my German ancestry. What disappoints me most about it is that it doesn’t have a very German name. What the hell is a Tiguan anyway? If I buy a German car, I want a Dusseldorf or a Rommel or a Gotterdammerung – something that maximizes my tuetonic experience!

  22. The poem speaks of a time, person and place that meant something for you at the time. I like the concrete memories and the thought process. Well done. I couldn’t stop reading so that tells me something…you had me captivated and whether it’s your best work or not, it doesn’t really matter. This society’s MO is ” what have you done for me lately” I can’t believe I’m quoting Janet Jackson, but I think you know what I mean.

  23. Don’t beat yourself up over it. I’ve slogged through poems that read like someone took a stack of words cut from a magazine, threw them on paper and called it “great.” Those are the kinds of poems that grate on a person who doesn’t want to dig through the crap to get to the treasure that’s purportedly underneath it. For the same reason that I liked Edna St. Vincent Millay, a person doesn’t have to wonder what you’re trying to say.

    Wasn’t there a story about a poet who spent months trying to find just the right word for a 3 line poem before publishing it? These days, by the time you find the right word the meaning has changed (like the difference between discriminating your words and discriminating with words?)

    Keep writing. It cleanses the soul.

    • Hey, hi

      Nice to see you stopping by 🙂

      I can imagine taking a good long time to find the right word for a three line poem – in the short stuff you can’t afford to take two words to say what one should mean. The word “insidious” took me long enough to come up with and I knew right away it still wasn’t right. Why use it at all?

      It’s interesting that one should keep writing to cleanse the soul, isn’t it? Assuming that were true, then one would indeed keep writing – but that goes to the heart of the dichotomy that always sits at the back of my blog – if it is written, what more does it need to do? What function, independent of and complimentary to writing, does posting it serve? I’ve always thought that was an interesting question!

      • I love writing my way through life. It gave me back my humor, the discovery of thought, feeling, scents and sights I’ll not see again except through the written word. From my perspective, the dust of life constantly accumulates, which requires constant cleansing of the soul. 🙂

  24. Is there indeed a sour note in “Blue In Green?” —–Chagall

    • I don’t think so – it was more a reference to her constant ability in going to great efforts to find something wrong in every situation, no matter how perfect. It was also a meta-reference to a something called the Poet’s Round table, back on MySpace where we once contributed some verses based on MD songs

  25. So I couldn’t help myself and began following your comments about how you dislike this poem, which I really like by the way, and then saw a fragment about you being a Southern boy and a tidbit about the “…fish fry in Paris, TN.” I’m around the bend and through holler from there 🙂 Small world…

    • Me and Miss A. drove up form Bluffton South Carolina to the Fish Fry one year. Hell of a thing to see! It’s true, they got it all down south, they just got a little more than “it all” out west… 🙂

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