Home > Journaling the Apocalypse > oceans of straw

oceans of straw

November 6, 2008

last night I dreamt
oceans of straw covered the world

men burrowing
with their noses and sifting
with their teeth
in hopes of finding the last matchstick

to taste we need to breathe
we need skin

there are weathermen
in the basement of basements
playing truth or dare

above them the straw
forever dry and delicate

as their teeth glow with thirst
they have swollen faces and they won’t give up

they won’t stop
pointing at the ceiling and saying
the chance of rain is better than ever

by Jeffrey Skemp

Reading and toy piano by the author, with banjo accompaniment by John Colburn
Download the MP3

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  1. lax
    November 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    great poem!

    It’s funny that with all this talk of hope in our country these days, there are some who still see that the world could be just match away from over. I guess since its two days after the election, we can shelve all that pot-clanging optimism and accept that we need to remain realistic. How interesting is it that the poets are reminding us to be realistic?!

    Are these weathermen in the basement lying or do they really believe that the chance for rain is better than ever? I suppose that since they are in the basement, we should assume that they are completely out of touch. I love the duality of the straw and the match– is the straw flammable and therefore dangerous? Or is it so like matches that it hides them better than anything else does.

    All of us are standing in the basement; some of us are staring at the straw….

  2. November 6, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I love this. The words, the voice, the music and the feeling are in perfect harmony.

  3. oriana
    November 11, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Living in drought-ravaged California, I feel this poem in my bones. Excellent, spare and imagistic. Bravo!

  4. November 23, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    A little late in coming but… thanks for the lovely comments!

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