Tuesday, May 03, 2016

In memoriam Steven Charles Werner 5/3/55 - 3/26/85

Death at Sea

The heart, someone wrote once,
Couldn’t walk a straight line,
Couldn’t pass the drunk test if it tried.

Some men play the odds; their heads count cards
But their hearts play inside straights.
They can’t bluff, ever,
Show their hand, most times,
And always give the pot away.

Steven died at sea
Holding the dead man’s hand, aces up.
A poker-faced corpse surfaces on the water:
I see
The orange safety vest
Inflated around his neck
Mocking God and me
Now, now, now, now, now---
Too late.

I held his wake in Vegas,
Sat Shiva in casinos
Where there were no windows, no daytime, no peace.
I put him in a casket,
A greedy one-armed bandit
It still asks me for coins
For its insatiable slot.

I hate the beach
The deadsea beach
The sunblocked snorkeled oily beach
The scuba lungs
The deadgrass skirts
The blind bikinied sunglass beach

I hate the sea
The soulless sea
The sentient, malevolent swampy sea
It don’t care if you live
It won’t cry if you die
It boasts like Yaweh
It spits in your eye
The sea
The stupid sea.

But I love the albatross
That took Steven’s soul,
And I love the lighthouse and the shore,
And I love all sailors, both sober and drunk,
That won’t kill a bird no matter what,
And I love the salt and I love the storm,
And I loved Steven, beyond most doubt,

And if I knew then
What I know now
Could I have walked on water
And pulled him out?

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