♫♫depending on how you see/ a thing, the ship is free/ or it is sinking♫♫

shelley feller

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.”

from Issue 30.1

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.