Scuttled Bottled Corked Washed Up

David Rowbotham

Always, someone’s thirsting:
myself, I suppose, for ink
that won’t let me sink as he did,
scuttled by the schooners he sank.

Castaway on a quicksand island,
he launches to the surf vessels of revenge
and drinks to drown the imagined.
Given the drift, he’ll distil sting.

He’s still within bottled range;
having reached entrance, has scores to be settled, .
and his bearing’s unknown to those he wants to reach.

The postman knocks, a bottle breaks
in a street like a stretch of letter-box beach.
Acid’s at my feet like a spilt conundrum.

Should what he labelled me cry help for him?
Should I send ships of rescue out?

Or, a survivor as he’s not
except as corrosive inside sunk schooners,
spend for safeguard against inroads;
prepare for further raids?

Chemically contorted, his puzzle’s
too deranged to report but exists.
What’s his bottled corked hunger after;
a mainland step his age? to be gulped down
to anonymous shores where his own step inks unlabelled?

I sense most the waist level
of somone trapped in torment
by what’s emptied to a drift washed up
from islands where things exist shipwrecked.

By the grace of where he’s marooned with salt,
here I survive, working attacked with a sting.

When, if as lost, waist deep,
I lauch to the surf vessels of revenge, found,
don’t search for me, I’m a spilt conundrum,
survival’s over, there’s no more ground.
I’m scuttled bottled corked washed up.

And a poem (if it is one) can’t
be a rescue-ship
It can only cleave the wash of want.