Where Sharks and Whales Only Swim in Books (One Shot Wednesday)


A morn will break in life when you sense safety,
And they’ll be no safety,
Because there is no safety on a sea hiding monsters.

An altered, borrowed thought from Melville’s whale,
I took as prophesy,
Slightly changed because I will not live by the sea.

I sense land and know its land,
I live on land,
Way inland, where sharks and whales only swim in books.

It’s been that way ever since that poster sucked us in
To the darkened sea of theatre’s trap,
Haunted by the simple pattern of alternating notes E and F.

Jaws of fear forever chased me to the plains.
Quint’s scream echoed Ahab’s plea,
As they both drown in swirls of unknown depths in grasps of monsters.

I still see it hanging, taunting from theatre’s red brick wall,
The great white killer of innocent swimmers;
Straight up, mouth open, death stalking, a frantic thrashing,
Gurgled screaming, an eerie silence, a bloodied ocean, once still, once serene,
Once Safe.

There are no creatures of the deep in Kansas,
No Brady’s, Hooper’s, or Quint’s drunken songs of false courage,
No great white killer of innocent swimmers stalking my life from

The poster changed my life.
I live on the Rock, firmly on the Rock, far from a shore hiding monsters.
I believe in Amity, but not as an island, it can’t be an island; never an island.

I saw that film with my father; I was young.
It was the only time he ever took me to the picture show.
He was so strong, he would have survived like Brady, if not for the monster,
Not Spielberg’s creature, but a swift silent killer of cells from beneath the

It was 1975,
Two alternating notes blown from a tuba,
And a large placard of a great white shark Mr. Benchley named, Jaws.


9 thoughts on “Where Sharks and Whales Only Swim in Books (One Shot Wednesday)

  1. dude Jaws scared the crap out of me…far more than any slasher film…for years my heart would thump at the beach…and would you believe when we lived in FL we were swimming and 2 fins came up 15 feet away and we were probably 40 yards from shore…clench…they were dolphins but all those fears crashed back…

  2. Were you see the monsters, I see tranquility… Different perspectives are a good thing, don't you agree? Your poem is really good and kind of epic, in the sense that life has always an epic side.

  3. Believe it or not I never saw the movies you write about so gravitate to your metaphor.I'm old enough to be well aware that sharks and whales do not only swim in books. Great theme to explore.

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