COOL ENOUGH TO SINK A SHIP

I wanna be cool the way Patti Smith says
coool in ‘Hey Joe.’ 
                              Take a peeler and scrape
away these tough bits. Gnarly
as a knuckle sandwich. 

Oh don’t croon it, baby. Siren it. Lure
my ships in. 

Hey Joe, 
              drop that pea shooter, 
take me
             on a cruise I can’t afford
and don’t want to go on. 

          There’s me bypassing
          portholes and ice sculptures, 
          eyeing floatation devices. 

          There’s me finagling bouillabaisse
          and breadsticks
          for the inevitable Norovirus, 
          the predestined crash. 

Hey Joe, 
               if things get choppy
and rations run out, hawk me
to the highest bidder, 
                                  the one who knows
what’s what in lifeboat soothsaying, 
who isn’t panicked when the waves crest. 

Forget tarot packs and palmistry, 
I’ll show ’em their bank balance
and tell them everything’s coool 
as an iceberg
                      ’til tiger sharks
start circling and I crank-up
these Popeye biceps, a chilly
one-two right in the gills.


Claire Kelly's first full-length collection, Maunder, will be available from Palimpsest Press in Spring 2017. She has curated a chapbook of emerging Edmonton poets for Frog Hollow Press’s City Series, which is available for purchase at www.froghollowpress.com. She lives and writes in Edmonton.