The Lost Harbor of Transiently Buoyant, Fresh Faces


It was on the tip of my tongue, shipwrecked.

Sucking venom from an urchin spine had never been so gratifying.

The scaly beast tightened its hold on my empty veins,

Whispering tainted omens amid nauseating shrieks.

But when you asked, virulent gunge turned to sugar crystal.

The saccharinity brought me to my knees, blinded from your visage.

Ancient glaciers flowed like glimmering rivers from my soul as the beast retreated.

Like a loose pebble in a rising tide, the words escaped.

“I ate the baby, Tom.”

Artwork is from Flickr.

Dark Depths


They stay for hours,

Just watching.

Omniscient totems,

They stare into his soul.

Epithetical tentacles keep him close

To a herd of aerial seahorses,

His mind flooded with

Metallic curses and ebony phantoms.

He tries to turn away, but

The binds keep him trained.

His freedom is strangled

Under leather blasphemies.

A watchful jellyfish steals his aches

Of unrequited love and spoiled flesh.

His face boils and his body contorts.

He feels his throat close.

Coughing up webbed hooks and urchins,

The boy vomits, pulling against his restraints.

Nearby seagulls cry for his release,

Silenced in the octopus’ vicious grasp.

Far below, a chorus of dolphins sing,

“Jump! Jump! The deep calls for you.”

The group whinnies and sinks into darkness.

An eel nudges him forward.

“Go on,” it hisses. “This is your chance

To silence the cynics and evade past negligence.”

The boy was trembling at the edge of the springboard.

Ripples form at the water’s surface beneath.

There was no going back to the

Harassment, deceit, and callous abandonment.

He dreamed of a land of passion and acceptance,

And he had a golden ticket.

In a swift motion, the boy jumped,

Feeling his neck snap against a knotted cable.

He drowns in a tempestuous ocean of icy regret

Before he can reach the water.

Featured image found here.

Foreboding Tides

A tall man sporting a long gray coat, navy breeches, and an overly large top hat struts across Lady Catherine’s main deck and gulps the ocean-licked breeze. “It won’t be long now boys!” he calls over the roaring waves crashing from below. Laughing heartily, he claps the back of his first mate. “Can you believe it, Nora?”

“Of course, Borris. I never had any doubt we would be unsuccessful.” Nora snarls, only worsening her already avian appearance. There was talk amongst the crew that she was the reason Captain Borris never carried a compass, that it was Nora’s abnormally long nose directing the ship. “The question is are you prepared for what’s to come?”

Captain Borris peers out into the open sea, engrossed in its mesmerizing glimmer. He tightens his grip on the wooden railing. “They’ve brought this upon themselves. There was once a time that I’d stand by their side no matter the situation.” He turns around to meet Nora’s sympathetic glare. “How else would they expect me to react, anyway?”

“Why don’t you collect yourself in your chamber; I’ll let you know when it’s been done.”

The captain shakes his head. “Absolutely not – I’ll be watching every second of the attack. It’s not every day you witness your hometown and family blown to smithereens, Nora.” He spits a wad of tobacco overboard, channeling his apparent rage into the thick banister.

“Alright, I can respect that. It’ll be on your orders then, Captain.”

Captain Borris waves a dismissive hand at his first mate, turning back to the welcoming, cobalt horizon. “Oh, and Nora?” he calls, “Fire the first shot away from the house with the bright-yellow roof; it’s right off the dock so you can’t miss it. I’ve got something different in mind for Ma and Pa.”

Water Politics

Cynthia Nielson could talk to sharks, and it made her job at the aquarium the best one in the world.

The hornsharks preferred Jerry Seinfeld clips to play during eating sessions; whale sharks were interested in heated discussions concerning the world economy; leopard sharks were worried about Cynthia’s ovarian cyst. Tours, while simple for her peers, were a challenge for the young aquarist, as the carnivorous fish had killer personalities.

Despite being the focus of jokes in the breakroom, Cynthia spent all her time near the tanks. There was no question she had problems socializing with other humans, but there was something about the sharks that made her comfortable – happy, even.

“So, Marshall, get this,” Cynthia waved a celery stick at the 17 ton whale shark whose massive frame scaled the bottom of the tank, “Sarah asked me to come in early tomorrow since Chad called out. Looks like you’ll be having me feed you!” The woman giggled as she chomped at the celery. “Let me tell you, that so beats hanging around at home all morning watching the news or whatever old-person shows they air at that time.”

The shark darted above, blackening the miniscule observation tube. His voice shook the floor. “That’s fantastic, Cynthia. Now tell me, what are your speculations of the effects of the U.S. Fed bumping the interest rate? I’ve already my own opinions, but I’d like to hear yours.”

“Fed? Like the federal government? And an interest rate on what? Marshall, you’ve known me for three years, so you should know by now that I’m completely stupid when it comes to politics.”

Marshall sighed, making a sharp left at the rock mound and circling back to face the aquarist. “Of course, Cynthia, your knowledge regarding things that very much affect you every day is next to nothing – a fact I cannot understand. Though I am hoping one of these days you’ll do some research and humor me with a nice debate.”

“Yo, is Marshall talking his talk again?” asked a skinny leopard shark in another exhibit. Its squeaky tone got the attention of the other sharks.

A striped shark loomed above. “For God’s sake, Mumu can you be any more annoying?”

“Oh, shut it Fargoth. You don’t even know what a god is. You’ve been eavesdropping on those humans again, haven’t you?”

“ENOUGH!” A tremor rattled the exhibits, and an angry great white appeared from a black abyss. “It’s bad enough I have to live near you all, but if you really want to die, keep it up. For those of you who want to see this bimbo tramp tomorrow, I suggest everyone shut the fuck up.” Silence dominated the scene until the fish continued: “It’s obvious that I’m the real reason this pathetic shit hole continues to exist in the first place; those pecker-faced younglings, with their mouthed stuffed with yellow fluff balls and minds plagued with sex and drugs, make their parents pay big money just to see me eat. I’m a fucking celebrity, and all of you are inferior filter feeding scalawags –”

“Aw, hell, Bingo’s goin’ on one of his rants, boys.” The voice sprung from a dark cave in the rock mound. “Might as well ignore him before he mentions –”

“STARLA YOU BACKSTABBING SANDCRUNCHER. You still owe me a pound of krill from last week!”

“What the…? I didn’t even know you last week!”

“Don’t give me that!” Bingo cried. “You all go out of your way to pretend I don’t exist, and it makes me more sad than irritated, you know? All I’ve ever asked for was a nice portion of everybody’s food so that I can continue to grow stronger and even more terrifying and threatening than before! Is that so much to ask?”

Marshall nudged a section of glass closest to Cynthia, who had been too lost in what was going on around her to realize her break was over. “See this Cynthia? That’s a great example of the federal government, right there. If you stay longer, I’m sure you’ll get a lesson involving –”

“Bingo, technically you owe us more than we owe you; remember those extra portions you were taking because you were afraid the keepers were gonna sell you for being too small?”

A leopard shark shrieked. “Guys, Bingo’s kind isn’t even allowed in the tanks! So why not we focus less on technicalities and more on how he fucking got in here!” The tank erupted with chaos.

“And they say they don’t know politics.” Marshall grinned.