aye, ich icky thicc physic, suck-o i’m a snack, natch stabbed of thee, ye lech i dress’t, deliver’t the victual aclang, acock, atop, agog i got yr gog adance, adangle delectable undetected deee-lite belay that mister-man bad skin bad eyes gay & fatty fuddy rudder main-topgallant backstays all spanker gaff crossjack in the companionway—get slushed lubberly whaling wailing lousey fo’c’sle head bottleful-handsome yawping jolly kick off ye leaky sea-boots licky bucko in the footropes, loose fast —hoise yrself hungover sun, i bon voyage guns out, sun over yardarm ♫♫i swill, i swish upon me men to tease and tarry, treat them in a decent way, grog them all three times a day♫♫ are gay? ay, it’s a lick it up opry a rose will bloom, it then will fade eros’ ill boom, fit men parade awaste awash awave away aweather wheels awhirl awrong awreck a rum a room a rémoulade aport accurst athwart abloom aboard abreast abut aback ablow abide alive alive alive alive i shrine the quiet corps of ghosts that lake the eyes aloof —touching/not touching my loof bussy gussied & gilt, we bust we break for better weather bent am ich to dog ♫♫haul upon the bowline, the bowline haul the beau’s’n brawls in sloe gin’s thrall sweeter than honey & bitter as gall tack’t to windward, sin-song’s squall♫♫ oh, ich, all ought to sin in atone, gay fug! we holystone we hose a rogue, our bloated soak we strike a pose & bully blow we disembark in some snug harbor homeward, hommewart doily skin of sea be lean, be loin, beleaguer water is from outer space!! pelagic belly of wealth, permit me voyage, love, into yr hands strong salt junk i warp him in
Note: “depending on how you see/ a thing, the ship is free/ or it is sinking” borrows a bit of language from Hart Crane’s “Voyages”; David Melnick’s “Men in Aida”; Lou Reed and John Cale’s song, “Smalltown”; the song, “What Is a Youth,” from Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet; and from the sea shanties, “Whiskey, Johnny,” and “Haul on the Bowline.” The poem’s title is taken from the Deee-lite song, “Good Beat.”
SHELLEY FELLER is a figure skater living in Atlanta. They hold an MFA from the University of Alabama and are currently pursuing a PhD in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. Their work can or will soon be found in Puerto del Sol, New Delta Review, Apogee, Tampa Review, and elsewhere.