Freaks and Graces

He thinks of iced tea, free in the South
after one glass (he would drink a gallon).
Tea iced was introduced in Chicago
at the '21 World's Fair. He wishes

he knew geography, astronomy.
He doesn't know latitude. He wants
to understand the circles that move him.
In the sea he's drinking alone.

In the sea he's drinking bourbon,
hoping to give himself up to the birds
rather than sharks. The sea heals wounds
and corrodes iron pilings, bodies, men.

A sad painted man. An entertainer
hired by the Cruise Line, attended Clown
College. Inspired when he cut his mouth
shaving and laughed at his streaked face.

Drunken and full of stunts. Cast himself
off in an inflated yellow boat
with his funny shoes and his bottle.
"Oh dear God!" he says. Oh dear God.