The Commodore

by: Sean Damlos-Mitchell

“But O heart! heart! heart!”
—Walt Whitman_

On a dirigible made of bones
gaining altitude in a stranger
ocean & suddenly      suddenly
embracing atmosphere it takes
our breath away      we shout

Commodore where is the escalator
we shout      Commodore we are refusing
heaven      shout Commodore      where is the endless
buffet where is the casino

The Commodore asks for a show
        of hands
The Commodore asks for coins
        for Charon & asks

What does a soul
sound like     is it bouncing
freely like an unexplained
voice over the wailing loud
speaker of a school fire drill

The Commodore asks Who here
    is most qualified
to drown     & who to freeze
    who to pick apples We marvel at this

all-you-can-eat table
of crab legs & jello     we marvel
at the breadth of the whole
fucking thing & we are

so high up someone expresses concern
that our skin will fall off
    someone mentions something
about Icarus—but this is not
like that

Commodore our rent’s late again
we’re letting her get away
Commodore     all we have left
to mix with the vodka
is mouthwash & Commodore
we are too tired
for the stairs     let us sleep
here Commodore     let us

The Commodore asks us to pinpoint—
    Where is the life boat
    Where is the oxygen mask
    Where is the moment
your life diverged so completely
from itself that you became an empty

The Commodore asks     Have you ever
lain on the ground & pretended
you were a piece of lettuce     The Commodore asks
What will you remember
The Commodore     wide-eyed     asks
for two coins &
The Commodore sighs slowly like blue
    like frantic pain his skin
is stripped away     The Commodore
becomes the kind of naked
we’ve only dreamed of     The dance
most of all The Commodore
shouts into the feathered rest
of everything & The Commodore goes up
with his airship