Available NOW!–Black Ice & Fire–Poems by James Ross Kelly

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In March, 1964 the Anchorage Earthquake sent a Tsunami down the Pacific Coast from Alaska to hit Crescent City, California causing major damage and 10 fatalities. Several of the fatalities happened to men sitting in a bar who thought it would be a good idea to get some six packs to go– and watch the Tidal Wave come in down at the Crescent City pier.

Poem for the Beer Drunk Fishermen
Who were Lost at Sea
Off the Crescent City Pier
In the tidal wave of 1964—


fools on a spree
six-packs underarms
waving at deodorized
fumes of unreason
before the surf was up
lost long before they
were found between sausages
hamburgers and the
necessity of a mortgage
to come home to
filleted and floundered
between fishing boats
and the fuel of the barge
flipping end over end on
what was to be
the flotsam and jetsam
of what cannot live
in the terrible sound of
creation and beauty
in cataclysmic mandate
as water arcing over league
upon league roll over roll
fathom upon depth naming
an unforgiving– “You!”
at the beer tipping
realization of the mistake
about the smallness of what
was thought to ought to be

Kelly reads from Black Ice & Fire:

Poem for the Beer Drunk Fishermen

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