BAD BREATH POEMS

ICEBERG VICTIM

Since the Titanic youve had a bad reputation. The brutal collision, women and children in freezing water, men saving themselves first — a thoroughly disreputable tale. Writers and commentators expended enormous effort presenting the victims side of the story, and almost none on yours. About all we heard was how big you were, how cold, how cruelly indifferent. Nobody interviewed you, asked you what it felt like to have an ocean liner smash into your rear end, to have all those people screaming and dying right beside you, to have your good name blackened around the globe. Two movies followed. But all we saw were brave crewmen shovelling coal in flooding boiler-rooms, grand pianos falling from upside-down ballrooms, and wussy little geeks hamming it up before your mighty visage. Its time to end this injustice. All you ever wanted was to roam the oceans in peace. A mighty mass of frozen complexity. A great natural spirit, unencumbered by theology, mythology, idealism or ideology. The worlds largest ice cube slowly melting back into the void. Whats the real story? A ridiculous passenger ship, far too big for its britches, commanded by a possibly drunk captain, and steered by a helmsman probably asleep at the wheel, crashes into you without warning. How could they miss you? How could they not see a ten story building floating calmly off the coast of Labrador, where icebergs are expected to be on the move? What were you supposed to do — put up warning lights and hire a brass band? I wonder what has become of you. Is there any part of you still bobbing on the ocean; Are you a fragment floating in a Martini in some expensive Ginza lounge; or have you simply returned to origin — molecules of hydrogen and oxygen, swimming forever in the sea of tranquility.

Tokyo Tues 09/26/00