Mudlark No. 48 (2012)

Vachel Lindsay and the Whales of California

Forget that he ended it all with a slug of Lysol. 
Or threatened his wife and children as if they spumed off his
coast, the cost, the frost, the inexplicable rising in 
his gorge nothing like the sound of jazz-birds or flip-flopping
sea-stars. Trombone, saxophone, xylophone, “the whales roar in
perfect tune and time.” What music pickled his “weary eyes,”
shook him with sighs, beat through the clouds, fed the memory of
dates, figs, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, while giant swans 
nested on the Golden Gate, the rhyme of heaven only 
a syllable away, that boomlay-boom of surf and gold-
flecked skin the error of lost love? What is the color of
moth and worm in starlight? How brittle a wife’s impious
speech. Here’s “Heartache’s Cure,” west of the west of western shore,
the whale’s great tongue, if it has a tongue, uncurling its song.

John Allman | Oil Change
Contents | Mudlark No. 48 (2012)