Gunpowder Tea

By Liam Murray

 

 

I am the USS Indianapolis, Dumlupınar, HMS Sussex

And a thousand chests of jewels

Whirling and fluttering like

Gunpowder tea

To the ocean floor

 

It is Tisha B’av in Barcelona, Smyrna, Lampadusca

And the halls of a sea-bed Louvre

Lined with ivory, Row after row.

It is Natale in Italy, Eid in Hijri,

Save your Quls for the journey

And pray I make it.

 

Can you see my hands

Reaching through the page,

Falsely grasping legalese

And plunging through the waves;

For years the haunt of battleships,

Of spice, disease, and slaves?

 

Then don’t claim they banned solidarity:

As on land, so at sea.

 

So for the Edgelands,

So for the Shorelands,

So for the Strangelands

We float between –

 

Quite unsure if the foaming mass

Won’t consume us all.

 

I am at once Indianapolis, Dumlupınar, HMS Sussex,

Behiç Erkin, Pia Klump, Asa Jennings

A thousand chests of jewels

And a tide of broken bows

Whirling and fluttering like

Gunpowder tea

To the ocean floor –

 

And rising to the surface

Like flotsam

For the shore.