Lynn Fanok

Jun 27, 2011 2 Comments by Sea Stories

Lined up on the back seat

going home
from the beach
and squirming,
forced to create a continuity
of form on the station wagon’s
blue vinyl bench

like a school
of smoked whiting
arranged one-by-one
on a delicatessen tray
under smeared windows
without cohesive substance,
except for arms and legs,
stuck to the blue vinyl.

Also accepted for publication by Burnt Bridge.


Striped canvas,
gypsy’s tarot tent.
She’s floating
on seaweed dreams.

She moves through flip-flops,
cotton-candy saturated air,
oil and sweat colliding.

Rusted dodge-cars swerve,
avoiding near misses.

She swims in a cul-de-sac
among swaying hips
wishing someone would
toss her a life-preserver.

Taffy-toned dusky-eyed boys:
Bunsen-burners, simmering,
stirring, pouring on sun-lotion lines.

Her pearly lips smile.
She flounders in the sweet undertow
of words.

A stem-of-a-girl, a reed,
under developed
in the murky depth-of-field,

a stow-away,
she drifts aboard a seagull solitude,
escaping the leviathan on shore.


Rummaging dresser drawers,
flinging out mismatched tops and bottoms,
I unearth a swimsuit,
long since grown too small:

bumping along on the back seat,
we head to the ocean;
feet touch down gingerly,
on to the searing gravel, the beach,

scattering fiddler crabs,
on the loose;
we dip toes into coolness,
then recoil.

Cousins from New York,
who never learned to swim,
splashing, whining,
of our desperation,

the waterline of disappointment rises,
hand-me-down, second-hand, tired,

Bapcia bakes, sweats,
too many mouths,
not enough love,
to satisfy all the want.

The distant dock floats, tranquil,
in the water every summer,
and we continue to fight
over the one black inner-tube.


They would go fishing
in a row boat.
That was how they shared.

Later, things changed
as adolescence struck,
and challenges came

Still, the sunfish were
spilled from a bucket,
after being held briefly
in the air to admire,
released to carry on
with their buoyant lives.


on the boardwalk railing,
she glances down
at her sweaty,
tentacle fingers
enveloping a wax paper cup
of melting ice cubes.

She’s urged
by a small boy’s elbow
jabbing her side,
to look up at a streamer
from a slow bi-plane.

Her freshly painted
mascara eyes
gaze upward.

Clearly unimpressed,
she tosses her dark hair
over sunburnt shoulders.

Hungry, she says: “I want a . . .”
“I want you!” Some gawking guy
drools out the sun-lotion words.
She swims in them.


Lynn Fanok is a poet and aspiring musician who grew up in New Jersey, and was introduced to the seaside at an early age. Her recent return to graduate school reignited her interest in writing poetry. She has written a collection of poems about family, history, and memory. Her poetry has appeared in  Burnt Bridge, and is forthcoming in Oak Bend Review. Lynn currently lives in lovely Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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David Burdeny

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories


Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, David Burdeny has degrees in both Interior design and a Masters in Architecture. At the age of 12, David started to photograph the prairie landscape and make his own black and white prints in a makeshift darkroom that also served as his bedroom closet. Primarily self taught, his architecture and design background greatly influences his penchant for simple exacting photographs of sky, horizon and the marks humankind leaves behind. Influenced by notable photographers such Michael Kenna, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Fay Goodwin, David purposefully photographs in poor light and near darkness. He uses unusually long exposures to see that which our eyes can not. Moving beyond the literal, his images have been described as ominous, haunting, beautiful and meditative.

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Elizabeth Bradfield

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories


****To reach that island, you have flown above
**********every thing marine, the plane’s smooth shadow
darkening further for a moment
****habitats of tuna and kelp,
**coccoliths and diatoms.  Inside the metal

*****hull you did not think of this, but of
********the frost-sharp ground of spring
*****************that every year you’ve walked too early,
******trowel in hand, to turn ground
**for the absent sun.  Later, you’d complain
**********of lacework cut by slugs,
*******then roam the garden nights, miner’s helmet

****showing a narrow path as you bend low,
**************pause, gurgle beer into a bowl
******set level in the ground.
Some days I’d kneel beside you,

**************gloves slivering my fingers, nod vaguely
****at color, the general shape of petal or leaf.  And sometimes
**you’ve listened to me go on
******about the habits of abyssal acorn worms
***********or cycles of anadromous fishes.  You

******are without a garden now, and by any clock
**************your flight has landed, you

****************have left the plane into a foreign air.  But
****I have not heard the phone’s trans-Pacific lag, or read
*****your description of this other land,
************so I keep you
**on the plane, focus on what’s familiar—the
flip-down tray, cut of seat belt at your hips,
*********ocean gyres circling clockwise below.

*************that white dust you buy to ring
*******the base of every tender garden stem, the diatomaceous
earth that sifts like talc through our hands
*********************and cuts pests like broken glass, it is not
really earth at all, but jagged skeletons
*of marine plants.  And beneath you and the plane

**************where I will imagine you until you write
*******that you have landed and provide
convincing details—beneath you and the silver body,
**************and the ocean’s silvered
**********surface, thick deserts of just
**********that earth.  Diatoms, millions
*******************of them, ooze like glaciers—
**************slow, bodies puckered

******and domed like the head
***of a sprinkler.  I imagine I can see each
microscopic one.  All that white

**shaded into grey by water-slowed light.  Your plane
******************is landing.  I know
*********by the postman coming up the walk.  You
****are speeding, just this second, low to the runway
over a final stretch of sand dollars.  Black, soft, and
******************living, tilted to catch
**************what it is they feed on.  I hear

*********the rattle of the mail box, the shift
*******and slide of paper.  Your blonde head
***************is moving into an airport, beyond,
**********a familiar paleness
*****against acres of dark.

Why the “Narrows Basscat”

In the spirit of the jackelope
and mermaid.  Lynx-eyed, white-fanged,
scales shellacked and caudal fin
flexed.  Postcard above my desk,
*********************I want to know
what your small throat would say,
what half-drunk stuff-man made you,
and what hunters he pissed off
when they came in for their trophies.
*****************************Did he chuckle
when he reached into his vat of glass cat eyes
and pulled out these?  And did his merriment last
through the filling of your odd cavity, the tiny stitching
back together, the fix of snarl, fin, whisker, ear?

He is dancing from the table, scissors glinting
in his hand.  And why not—if he
can’t find love, if he’s too odd for adoration,
if passion’s snickered at him, if, at last,
this strange creature makes real
the lonely taxidermy of his own soul.



Four pages of jigs, six of spinners.  The catalogue paper
glossy as a fish’s eye.  Wire herring traps.
Rubber squid.  Hooks dangling

from the belly of a painted shad – think crescent.
Think beckon.  Think of all
the quick and silver things in life you’d win
by any method because their losing
is untenable.

I want a dress
of lures, all feathers and tin,
bright thread and monofilament line,
hem hung with sinkers.


The boats are still bringing in catch.
Stripers, haddock, blues and mackerel
slipping into the hold as gulls dizzy
the air.  We’ve cast so long
for what will feed us.  Lakebeds in Maine

are pebbled with lost weights, the stones leaching
their metal until loons, diving into the dark
muck, are sick with lead.  How I loved

the plumb, grey sinkers, unburnished in my palm,
the swivel above with its tricky clasp, the flash
as the spinner flicked down, following
yearning, as I did, for the sweet

muscle, seared in a pan
lined with pepper, the flesh opening
like the quick slit in the seam
of a woman’s skirt as she walks away,
back of her knees flashing with each step.


Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of Approaching Ice (Persea, 2010), which was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Interpretive Work (Arktoi Books, 2008), which won the 2009 Audre Lorde Prize and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. In 2005, Bradfield founded the grassroots-distributed and guerilla-art-inspired Broadsided Press (, which still runs. A former Stegner Fellow, she works as a naturalist and lives on Cape Cod.  Visit her website at

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Pris Campbell

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Sea Trails

*****I must go down to the sea again…
*****John Masefield

I board the tiny sloop that has carried me
twice to Maine with its deep
silent harbors and moaning buoys.
I’m ensnared, trapped by increasing
longings to ride that magic carpet
into places different from my own
narrow world of nine to five rewind.
Saltwater rises through my body,
is transformed through its heat
into golden mist. I expand
without Alice’s cookies,
become a gull dropping clams
on the rocks to crack them,
a molting lobster, a leaping dolphin,
a man watching the sky from a deserted dock.
The sea is my cradle and it rocks me,
lulling me into new ways of seeing.
My arms unfurl into sails.
I let the wind take me.

Unsafe Harbors

Out of the horseshoe that is Cuttyhunk,
anchor hauled from Vineyard Haven,
where a hopeful fan mistakes me for Joni Mitchell,
past where John Kennedy, Jr. is to later plunge
to his death, we reach Nantucket, cobblestoned home
to the tourists, small boaters and the wealthy.
A distant dot on the chart;
miss it and you’re enroute to England.
It’s my birthday and the clanking halyards,
the ricky-tick shops become my present,
my ‘happy birthday to you’, my respite
from my lover’s glares, his increasing nips at my ankles.
I glow, even in this heartless town where
hand painted rocks go for hundreds of bucks
and no homeless sit on the cobblestone begging for cash.
Its disturbing beauty washes over me,
like the long warm showers at the marina,
so when the winds rise later,
sneaking up through that vulnerable spot
in the anchorage I’m reminded that
there are no safe harbors, no havens.
We run the motor all night, ease the strain
on the groaning anchor rode, watch
skeletons of boats slip past our starboard
and port sides, hope we won’t be hit,
dragged back in this black night along with them.
Daybreak brings scratched, tangled and beached boats.
but our shadow passes, unscathed,
across the morning water.


The poetry of Pris Campbell has appeared in such journals as Chiron Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Oranges & Sardines, The Dead Mule, and Main Street Rag, along with many other journals and anthologies. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and several times for the Best of the Net anthology. She has five published poetry collections. The most recent is The Nature of Attraction , with Scott Owens, from Main Street Rag Press. In the fall of 2009, Lummox Press published Sea Trails, a book of poems, log notes, chart snippets and photos based in her six month trip down the east coast in 1977 in her 22 foot sailboat. The two poems in this issue come from this book. Previously a Clinical Psychologist and active sailor, she has been sidelined by ME/CFS since 1990. Her current home is the greater West Palm Beach, Florida, where she lives with her husband.

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Christine Lowther

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Ablaze with Certainty*

Eighteen beaded spiderwebs brought forth
from vapour and mist
observed through the crimson lattice
of a broken heart

Countless emerald strands of eel-grass
trailing from loose ropes,
the heart’s rupture fraying

Six dragons of golden bullkelp
caught, swirling, between flotation logs
the heart listlessly following

Dependable tide, ebb and flow, no surprises
this heart easily, predictably, repeatedly broken

Night-heavy ocean offers luminescent embers
smouldering on anchor lines, a close universe crowding
coruscating constellations erupting
yet this heart will not be lifted
it flounders in black water
unsophisticated sluggish beats like the moon jelly
without its grace    a petticoat of pain

Save me, spoiled heart, full heart and broken,
defeated, angry heart, annihilated;
proudly scarred,
patchwork raggedy-ann heart
untangle and mend, break through the fog
swim your way clear

*The title is a phrase from a Ruth Barrett song, “Hestia of the Hearth”

Eight Storeys High 250 Metres Down

Poem for Globally Unique, Threatened Glass Sponge Reefs off BC’s Coast

Millions of years ago Earth was Ocean
and two übercontinents, shelved
by a single silica sponge reef
stretching hemispheres,
the only glass in existence
giving birth to a planet’s future.

Glass reefs: extinct for 40 million years…
Merely a scientist, I glance again at a photograph
deep down in the Danube Valley — a monastery, dwarfed
by high cliffs where pale fossilized reefs
********************************************************in the sky.

In Spain, there is a castle built upon glass.
What was once alive under the sea now stares blankly
through air. Shrubbery frames what used to hide fishes,
their beautiful colours, their elegant fins.

At last a day dawns
when living glass reefs 9,000 years old
are found eight storeys tall
off Canada’s west coast.
I squeeze into a submarine built for two
shrugging off my claustrophobia
plunge into Hecate Strait
press my forehead against the window.
250 metres down, I meet my dinosaurs face to face,

Luna’s skin

Luna the orca 1999-2006

Whales are approaching
crossing the sky in heraldic procession
graceful zeppelins
our silent saviours
they sense the barrier between our species dissolving
they see the cedar boughs draped
over dugout canoes
they take in the flowers and bouquets of flowers
strewn over the wide surface of the water
tear-shaped petals scattered

Someone dives into the ocean looking for Luna:
a streaming skeleton surfaces,
whale-sized cave of bones emerging
but it is only the curved ribs of tree branches
barnacles clinging to grey cedar

We are always too late
smuggling in friendship
a clandestine love between species
expressed via touch
how else to soften the barrier
caress it into membrane:
in caring, we momentarily
perceive the other world
silence its music

In life, in the cold water,
Luna’s skin was warm


Christine Lowther is the author of My Nature, New Power and co-editor and co-author of Writing the West Coast: In Love with Place. Her work has been featured on CBC Radio and published in anthologies and periodicals including Salt in Our Blood, Wild Moments: Adventures with Animals in the North, The Fiddlehead, Risking for Change, The Beaver, Crowlogue, Walk Myself Home and The New Quarterly. Currently she is co-editing a second anthology on west coast identities.

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Philip Quinlan

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Shivering Sands

Maybe the songs made up a history.
You drop a stone to mark a place;
hold back the sea with some philosophy.
Those days both were and weren’t the days.

You see the estuary in sepia,
not in the colours that you knew.
The sands that shiver in the shallows,
though they never stop remaking you,
have settled ultimately on a plan—
a course the river used to run,

where once you walked under the water
and listened to the voices drown,
one day when everything was not the same.
This is a place you knew by name.

Terns, in a compass mood, will curve and go;
some songs you can’t sing any more.
Love is a binary, a brittle star;
wrack burns on the abandoned shore

and some stars die by friendly fire.


Philip has two print publications, “True North”, and “Leaves and Limnings”, and an ebook, “A Game of Graces”, all made in collaboration with the artist Annie Ovenden. His work has been accepted by and/or published in “The Flea”, “The Chimaera”, “Lucid Rhythms”, “Lilt”, “Soundzine”, “The Avatar Review”, “Centrifugal Eye”, “Shit Creek Review”, and “Shot Glass Journal”.  He lives in London. His interests are musical, natural, spiritual and mathematical.


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Colette Tennant

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Sailors by the Sea

Gathered in the lolling water,
the leftover push and tug
of a tide on the verge
of turning,
they seemed to be a foamy tip
of the ocean’s smooth tongue,
except for a tinge of blue,
not a water blue, but the blue
of a sky that had fallen too far.

They looked like petals some
unseen person had gathered
in an orchard far away,
an orchard that bloomed blue.
The petals lay strewn in
the shallow tide.

At the edge of the umbrella blossoms
tentacles swirled
alive – some at least –
thousands crowded along the water’s edge,
the living pressing against the dead,
blown there by the wind.

Someone beside me named them –
Sailors by the Sea.
I wished them well,
knowing how hard it is
to be at the mercy of wind and tide.


Colette Tennant is an English professor at Corban University in Salem, Oregon. Her first poetry book, Commotion of Wings, was published by Main Street Rag in February 2010. She has had poems published in various journals including Southern Poetry Review and Natural Bridge. She enjoys walking along the Oregon coast near her home.

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Neal Whitman

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Winter Afternoon

click clack
her fingers move in rhythm
knitting by the window
this winter afternoon

looking out
she can tell it is a cold day at the beach
a man casts his line
only twice

looking down
at her tangle
she decides to rip back
and start anew


Neal Whitman lives in Pacific Grove, California, with his wife Elaine. In 2010, Neal won 3rd prize and honorable mention for two free verse poems in the Common Ground Review annual contest, and his haiku also won honorable mention in the Haiku Society of America and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival annual contests.  He teaches a workshop on a volunteer basis, “Haiku for Everyone, for Anyone.”

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Changming Yuan

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Night of Sky

night of sky in the sea, bursting
with clouds and whales and chrysanthemums

night of sky in my mind –flat
when my meditative spirit stays still
among shapes and sounds, like a lotus-eater

night of sky in the sky, deep night
when my imaginings are starfish finding themselves
swimming closer to the carrel tree, to their nests


Changming Yuan is a two-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009), grew up in rural China, who published several books before moving to Canada. Currently Yuan teaches writing in Vancouver and has had poems appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine and nearly 300 other literary magazines worldwide.

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Alessandro Catuogno

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories


Born into a sea-faring family, the sea is always close to Alessandro Catuogno’s heart.  He’s tried to capture all of her aspects, the calm and the rough, as a medium for sport, or simply as scenic background. Even though they’ve drifted apart over the years, the sea remains the fondest memory of his youth spent in Marina Piccola. As it often happens, one’s passion becomes one’s work. All began in the early 70’s with a spark of enthusiasm and a camera lent by a friend. Since that day, Alessandro has spent many hours in a dark room developing his first monochrome films, watching the magic of the pictures appearing on the paper, still immersed in the developing trays.
Much time has passed since then, but his passion for photography has remained strong, actually increased thanks to the development in modern technology which has given birth to a new world he is discovering day by day.  Alessandro’s main activity now, is the fine art printing process, with carbon piezography inks on rag papers, and a matt cutting system, for all his international clients, and for his small gallery in Capri.

Visit Alessandro Catuogno’s websites:

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