Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Collaborative Project

This is by Richard Garcia from his latest collection
The Persistance of Objects Rochester N.Y.:BOA editions, 2006.

This particular poem is a collaboration with Moby Dick
like the suggestion in our course syllabus,
Garcia as he explained at one of his readings
wrote a paper some 45 years ago in a freshman college class
and it failed. He ended up dropping out of college...
but it ended up making a good poem.

from "Under a Black Flag"

In my Moby Dick Captain Ahab is Hitler.
That's why he stomps around, dragging his peg leg,
muttering about those Jews, Gypsies, mongrel intellectuals,
communists, homosexuals, and decadent artists--
they all coalesce into the image of that cursed whale, cursed
albino with the black heart, black blood, black milk of emptiness!
And the Pequod, the Pequod is Western Civilization
following the white whale through an existential darkness
of a world made lonely from the Death of God.
Hitler, poor Hitler can't find any Aryans to join his crew
so he settles for American Indians, Blacks, and Ishmael,
whom he suspects might be an Arab. Me? I'm in the book tooo-
Pepito the cabin boy. Being illegal, I have to sleep
down in the hold with the rats and the ballast
graveyard dirt-and I sleep well, rocked
by creaking timbers, and the herds of whales singing
ghostly utulations of Ahab's death song. But my Moby Dick
is in a kind of eternal present. That's why Nathaniel Hawthorne
leans toward Herman Melville as they bounce along
in a horse-drawn carriage and tells him about the article he read
in the Gazette-a white whale often seen off the island of Mocha,
that the sailors call Mocha Dick....

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