Mauve and cinder-yellow peaks plasticize, rise in muscular rhythm to meet the sun. Bottle crowns glint with the popping of last salivary bubbles in first daylight. Nonsensical wheels roped in place by aimless twine intestining its way around jagged-tooth trees; a mountain rises from the dusty float of feathers below. It was a bird. Now it’s an island, or a planet snagged as bycatch by some interstellar trawler.
In the black a grape-red emperor graces the skeletal prow, searching, drifting, ungazing with unbroken concentration as white marine snow stars storm through the black and towards the black, following a criss-cross pattern only underwater eyes can read, the rest of us are blown like glass through water; so like this he watches blind to hours, summits, years; the only season is the cape of life or death that courts him like a snake unsure of appetite or arousal. There are no more snowflake prairies for her queen to lay his eggs.
Rio and he rises from the sea like he could toss it all giggling to the ceiling, like the turquoise universe would tumble at his pedestaled feet, but our universe is roiling with laughter at this stupid moon we built around ourselves of Dippin’ Dots while Saturn and Neptune released their millennial spawn to chase the stars, to trace a new nebula in whale-shark watercolor, all to come down and swallow our diamond necklace while we wage saber wars over rocks.
A universe of tiny things all beating hearts or music; galaxies riding the dorsal fins of giants migrating inter nuptial sheets; it makes so much more sense than you or me or Linnaeus or even sense itself, just beating like a ripple through the pages of Exodus, Genesis rising in the black.
This poem is a response to the documentary Planet Ocean by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot (and a lot of other people whose names you’ll find in the film’s end credits.)
Image credits in order of appearance: