I met a man in South Street, tall-
a nervous shark tooth swung on his chain.
His eyes pressed through green glass
-green glasses, or bar lights made them
stepped out-forgot to look at you
or left you several blocks away-
in the nickel-in-the-slot piano jogged
“Stamboul Nights”-weaving somebody’s nickel-sang
O Stamboul Rose-dreams weave the rose!
Murmurs of Leviathan he spoke,
and rum was Plato in our heads . . .
“It’s S.S. Ala-Antwerp-now remember kid
to put me out at three she sails on time.
I’m not much good at time any more keep
weakeyed watches sometimes snooze-” his bony hands
got to beating time . . . “A whaler once-
I ought to keep time and get over it-I’m a
Democrat-I know what time it is-No
I don’t want to know what time it is-that
damned white Arctic killed my time . . . “
O Stamboul Rose-drums weave-
“I ran a donkey engine down there on the Canal
in Panama-got tired of that-
then Yucatan selling kitchenware-beads-
have you seen Popocatepetl-birdless mouth
with ashes sifting down-?
and then the coast again . . . “
Rose of Stamboul O coral Queen-
teased remnants of the skeletons of cities-
and galleries, galleries of watergutted lava
“-that spiracle!” he shot a finger out the door . . .
“O life’s a geyser-beautiful-my lungs-
No-I can’t live on land-!”
I saw the frontiers gleaming of his mind;
or are there frontiers-running sands sometimes
running sands-somewhere-sands running . . .
Or they may start some white machine that sings.
Then you may laugh and dance the axletree-
steel-silver-kick the traces-and know-
ATLANTIS ROSE drums wreathe the rose,
the star floats burning in a gulf of tears
and sleep another thousand-
long since somebody’s nickel-stopped-
A wind worried those wicker-neat lapels, the
swinging summer entrances to cooler hells . . .
Outside a wharf truck nearly ran him down
-he lunged up Bowery way while the dawn
was putting the Statue of Liberty out-that
torch of hers you know-
I started walking home across the Bridge . . .
. . . . .
Blithe Yankee vanities, turreted sprites, winged
British repartees, skil-
ful savage sea-girls
that bloomed in the spring-Heave, weave
those bright designs the trade winds drive . . .
Sweet opium and tea, Yo-ho!
Pennies for porpoises that bank the keel!
Fins whip the breeze around Japan!
Bright skysails ticketing the Line, wink round the Horn
to Frisco, Melbourne . . .
clipper dreams indelible and ranging,
baronial white on lucky blue!
Thermopylae, Black Prince, Flying Cloud through Sunda
-scarfed of foam, their bellies veered green esplanades,
locked in wind-humors, ran their eastings down;
at Java Head freshened the nip
(sweet opium and tea!)
and turned and left us on the lee . . .
Buntlines tusseling (91 days, 20 hours and anchored!)
(last trip a tragedy)-where can you be
Nimbus? and you rivals two-
a long tack keeping-
(Harold Hart Crane)
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Based on Keywords: java, veered, thermopylae, baronial, land-, stamboul, whaler, no-i, turreted, it-i, lunged