Poem: Mark Goodwin


Harbour Punk

Ay oi up she rises! The wet wide girl growing
so oceanly of late. Up she comes boys! She be
rising. Ay oi the ice melts daily. Ay ay, you see
down at Oldlyn in the mystical & sea-faring

county of Warncall, the harbour-sound that’s all
the rage these days is playing. The pub on the
harbour front, the one called The Long Plank, is
decked out in all those old-fashioned fisherman’s

things: brightly coloured nylon & polyprop ropes,
thick steel shackles, hooks & pulleys, nets that’ve
felt the cold depths of the Atlantic now hung in
the pub’s ceiling, quaint VHF radio sets that carried

fishermen’s intonations through fare weather or
foul. The floor of the pub is oak planks & granite
flags, and there be a salty grease over this

                                     floor. The sound

from the band called Ahab’s Smegma is like a
sea crashing on instruments, tearing at the hulls of
drums, and the frail rigging that are guitars. The lead
singer’s throat is ripped open, and stuffed into the gash

from which his voice gurgles are two mackerel, one

with its stiff dead tail poking out, the other with its far
-gazing eyes blatant as two spots of

                                     blood on an apt

bride’s wedding dress. And the floor of the pub is no
longer glazed with brine but’s awash and sloshing with

what’s coming up. Ay oi the sea’s quim bleeds. The lead
singer is a boy by the name of Sid Fishface. His chest is
bare, and across it for hours & hours and for nautical
miles miniature trawlers drag nets made of razor

                                     blades. There is

a rare old fishy stink revving up in this pub. And the glug
glug grows as the wide lady’s exudates break through
the windows. The punters are up to their knees in the cold
sizzling juice. A vast heatless night-time soup full of floating
things. A mermaid’s breast here, a lifeboat man’s heart there,
and many many rotting cod. The pub’s tables & chairs are a
float, members of the band & the punters who are still
breathing are swimming close to the ceiling. The pub’s bell

clanging half in the brine and half out, clanging the last
orders before the final crossing. Sid’s last lyric sinks like a
lifeboat full of sons & husbands. And ay oi the drowning
applaud as they panic with their hands, slapping the skin

of what’s swallowing them. Ay oi up she rises. What

                                     do you do? The new sound that’s all
                                     the rage these days, the sound
                                     of Harbour Punk fades

                                     into the sea’s cruel smell
Mark Goodwin is a poet-sound-artist who curates Air to Hear, a SoundCloud group that collects sound-enhanced poetry from around our world. Mark’s books & chapbooks are published by: Leafe Press’s Open House Editions, Longbarrow Press, Nine Arches Press, Knives Forks and Spoons Press, and Shearsman Books.

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