portion of the artwork for Jim Davis's poem

Red and Gold Ribbons
Jim Davis

Pale fishing boats in the broad dark bay
captained by barbarians, scars across
cold hard faces. Aboard, they drink
what they can find. Pints of hopelessness
spill over & into this life of happenstance
which makes us, when we dance & spin
& spit & sing, feel courageous. As a boy
he had wings of a fledgling phoenix
which he trimmed in the great tile hall
of a boarding school in Palo Alto. Fish
in every ocean develop parasitic tongues
to keep bug & host alive. They drink
to the goodness of knowing & splendor
of unknowing, & they chase. They drink
things that must be chased, of course
since by the time the boats knuckle
shore, it’s too late for feathers & all
the ribbons have become flags & all
the world’s oceans are the same: blue
light of an invented fire, strange birds,
& the boy began to molt his philistine skin
while standing on deck, coiling brilliant rope.

Return to Archive

FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 46 | Fall 2015