Today we bid farewell to Ben Armstrong my Poet of The Month.
October has been all the sweeter because of Ben’s poetry in Poets Corner, which has initiated amazing debate, poetical responses and tweets!
Atlas and Berwick’s Jaw are my final two poems for October, which shows off Ben’s unique, visual, hyperreal and surreal style.
Alison Solomon, Guest Poet Curator
the atlas threw off the shawl of the antarctic
the atlantic flipped up oil tankers, a renegade tablecloth
the myth of moby dick leveraged all its might into one movement
the ocean strangled its own hemlock.
cale made mosaics of blank spaces
punctured beds with swoons the dolphins
chattered tunes to wake the urchins, moon
cracked tide in two.
our ahab died in shallow waters
molluscs shelled him up and carried
corpse on corpse up to the silt bank.
a cracked fishtank bled a castle.
the atlas threw off the skin it had been sewn
and the atlantic gestured with cale, a taunt
to all the molluscs, the dolphins, that puncturing
rock would crack them all into two factions, either
side of ahab, the myth leveraging its whole weight,
to strangle the ocean.
Sometimes I entertain the belief that the whale jaw is on the hill because a whale died there back when everything was waves, or on other days that a whale clambered up onto that very hill out of curiosity and fell prey to a vicious bout of asphyxia, or sometimes that the whale jaw ended up on top of the hill not because it was there at all, that humans placed it there to typify our daily struggle:
always climbing up on top of hills, finding we’re just teeth.
one day I saw the jaw dislocate the sun from its slumber
so I named it Ray after the sun’s rays which it ate whole.