Bill Piper: “SongLine 62: Jellyfish Cavafy”


as the men of the backward

Aegean cusp, or base of the Mediterranean

bowl, as Hannibal, as Antony, as founding Alexander

breathe out of statuary, out of hieroglyphic space            (kestrals, Horus,

dive out of sycamores

–as David Bowie’s Johnny,

they see right through–

as once ice melt & caving earth Palau

left salt water pockets, lacustrine, undrained, & jellyfish

lift as from a

Lawrence Welk champagne machine in bloomers, gills

on strands hanging under them southern belles,

or crystallizing gems

on dangling strands of mucous

–cave life, Cavafy life—

(sycamores, Nut,

pulsing high flotation bells, or heads where algae gather as

an instant, vacillating

in lacuna between sun & flesh

(green lichen dust flushed over buttery limbs–

the algae photosynthesizing

in jellyfish bells in Palau, same species as ocean carnivore

in here impiscid waters, now attenuate


out of encephalid algae from

these dulcet arcs of sun across

salt water ponds left 10,000 years…(slate,

hover & dive…   kestral, whose brick

breast & black hook

of mustache is already through

in anaerobic darkness,

the jellyfish down

in pink & toxic slime to feed

their algae, like Ra,

with him in him through him, Nut

to embody & carry…

or Cavafy


the ideal men of Punic time

into his own Egyptian air, warriors

gone sublime—imagination

& proximate flesh

trade & hover across lacunae


in canoe opened up

like cunt, say Isis, Nut,

Aphrodite of algae & animal plasm

& sun-fed sweetness: dulcet, solivorous–

the gills & dangling bloomers of

Hermetic transformation