Ship in the Night

Falling from the ether, coming in on the tides

the Age of Aquarius arrived

with its pole star to the west

and California weather,

a time for the love-in, the street fight,

for the sorceries of the blues guitarist,

gentler strings for the broken-hearted.

The needle in the groove

scratched the tunes of a new troubadour.

In the heaven-on-earth small house

I was the boy who listened for hours

to radio broadcasts from a ship in the night.

A ship far from shore, with nowhere to go –

that hoisted a flag of convenience

above its cargo of songs in the morning,

songs in the moonlight,

the chanson of the chanteuse

who kindled desire in every man she knew –

my night-companion who sang me to sleep

with her blues that she blew

in on the tides and out of the ether.

from A Song of Elsewhere, Dedalus Press, 2015

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