Along with our postcards, Red Flag releases one poem a month to your digital mailbox. On this page you will find all of our past Poetry Express poems along with information about their authors. The Poetry Express email format allows us more freedom to publish work that would not necessarily fit on a postcard. If you like these poems and want to read the upcoming ones before anyone else, or if a poetic email sounds much better than the spam mail you sort through everyday, head on over to our subscribe page. All Red Flag postcard subscribers are automatically added to the Poetry Express mailing list as a benefit of their subscription.
Gnarled palms sand burrs along the taffrail.
Satisfied, he faces the prow and sniffs the air
above deck, identifying distinct scents
of timber--white oak, teak, cedar, pine--
as he steps lightly over sawed lumber,
reeming irons, pitch ladles, and caulking mallets
to oversee the fill of fresh oakum
and inspect watertight seams
running from stem to stern
while tar dries and lightens in the sun.
He paces starboard to port and back
listening carefully for creaks in the planking
or framework groans from keel or ribs
until certain of a solid hull under his footfalls,
then rechecks every spar, joist, scantling,
davit, hatchway, lath, hasp, grommet.
Scrutinizing the rigging, he tautens
every lanyard and halyard, securing scows.
Officers will soon crowd the great cabin
with nautical maps and instruments
even as cargo holds are crammed
with whisky barrels and baggage in anticipation
of bollards loosing mooring lines;
but this is his moment, time at a standstill,
when a master craftsman, patient and thorough,
first perceives seaworthy handiwork
tenderly wrought by skilled hands.
Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and has been published in 100+ publications in Canada, U.S.A., England, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Romania, Israel, India, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Trinidad, & Mexico. www.brandonmarlon.com.
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