David Jalajel


     “Human interests cannot be the be-all and end-all of an ecopoem.”
     - John Shoptaw  


That sucker’s 
a total crybaby. 

Just you give it 
a good slap — 

and watch it go
blubbering off

to all its friends. 
And who do you

think, exactly, 
are its friends? 

Try the whole 
pissing ocean.


A constant 

for beachfront 
property —

here’s the authentic 
wireless technology.

Ride them bareback
to install. 

Dock them 
in the shallows

where they can’t ever 
swim off.


But it’s such a pragmatic 
Lizard King! — battling

sharks like they’re so many 
sea-dodos and avoiding 

being stunned by jellyfish 
or eels. We’re talking 

your only safe deep-sea dive.
So you wanna tame one? 

Know that mantas are real 
arsepains — constantly getting

in your way. It’d be best you 
kill them off before you start.


Divers — always forgetting your undersea 
bottle opener? Here’s the fish for you.

Farmers — you’ll till the high surf with ease
on your all-purpose ploughing machine.

Shipwrights — that 4-bar jaw gets you building
your fleet of motorboats in no time at all.

It fills your forges faster than they can cook.
Yes, introducing the solo prospector’s pocket pal: 

the first bite cleanly cleaves — the next 
spills those pearls (or any ores you need).

And hunters — that bullet-soak head makes great
target practice. Then it’s body shots for the kill!


There is a glitch in the north country
near the heart of the redwood glade 

where sea life spawns so close to the coast
it get trapped in the shallow bays —  

Meaning you can KO multiple specimens
trouble-free, and all at the same time!

It has the dead-eyed stare of someone 
who’s seen death and lived to tell the tale —   

Plus it’s Scottish. And it grins up at you
like a little boy seeing his first pair of boobs.

The blue-blooded monster of Loch Ness 
it is not. It’s nowhere near as childproof.


I saw a shimmer 
on the bottom; 

couldn’t make out 
what it was…

Picture yourself 
a gang of agile

sea monkeys 
armed with tasers

into your belly, 

who get gullet-stuck
until you die.


Although it is,
admittedly, tricky, 

and there is 
absolutely no utility 

in your doing so,

you can lure it 
to the shallows, 

summon it to where 
it strangely swims,

almost hovers, to you 
through the air.


Smooth sailing till our proud 
felucca cleared the island... 

when this jumbo filet erupts behind us 
and has a whale of a time 

ripping us to splinters. 
(So much for the pirate’s life.) 

No idea why it breaks our boats,
topples our sails. (Must it loathe 

the work of human hands?) Rumour is, 
a white one prowls the seas, 

sinking scores of ships. 
Let’s make Cap’n Ahab proud. 


Truly the most magical, most useless item since… 
narwhals? We know almost no way to tame it.

And should we care to? There’s nothing can
rein in its magic — or the ocean it conjures. 

With a flipper’s flash, it turns waterspout, 
vanishing into “thin sea”. And who’d dare 

deplore this plesiosaur it’s arcanities? 
From sea floor to shore, it never pursues

prey that escapes its first, devastating chomp. 
Sure, it stalks the deepest waters, but I —

whatever the risk — would have it rise up 
against rafts, ships, other human contrivances.


Lifeless eyes… black eyes… 
like a doll’s eyes… So I thought 

a shark can’t see you 
if you keep still. (Wrong!)

It’s pretty much a Jaws. (A flock 
of Jaws). Good to have a shark

or 2 along when you explore 
the deep. It just needs a wee

bit of TLC. (We’re gonna need
a bigger boat.) Keep your damn 

shark still, now! We’re never, ever,
ever gonna outswim a shark.


ravage squids.
Just hug 
the sea floor.

Glitch into 
the squid’s head. 

It won’t be able
to grapple you. 

You, on the other 
hand, can bite it

and bite it
until it’s dead.


Got scuba gear and a pike? 
Chase down those trilobites. 

Play the real-time strategy game 
of scaring them out 

from their aquatic lairs.
It’d be nice if they’d leak oil 

from time to time. (But no.)
Easy pearl generators? 

We’re not quite there (yet).
Pick at them for meat?

I guess they don’t do much 
but scuttle around.


Nonviolent? Please! When it 
cuddles you so tightly

and eats you alive? 
It’d be easier 

if you get on your raft, 
brandish your shoulder monkey,  

and grow a beard. 
Oh, and cannons.

And take along 3 partners: 
1 to bait it, 1 with a tranq gun

to tranq the third one 
tangled in its embrace.

David Jalajel is the author of Moon Ghazals (Beard of Bees Press, 2009), Cthulhu on Lesbos (Ahadada Books, 2011), a chapbook in Dan Waber’s This is Visual Poetry series (2013) and Rhyme & Refrain (University of the Western Cape, 2017). His work has appeared in a number of online and print journals, including Otoliths, Shampoo, experiential-experimental-literature, Recursive Angel, The New Post-Literate, Gulf Coast, Anti-, Lynx, Mizna, and Eclectica.
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