For Those Who Chose to Go Lost to the Sea


The author is the winner of the latest Cabaret Poetry Slam, held on June 29 at the OGRÓD Powszechny in Warsaw, Poland. 


We have birthed a new language here.

And dearly paid is it in learning.

We say, “Yes, sir.”

We say, “Yes, ma’am.”

We use terms like “cabin inspection.”

We say, “Not tonight. I’m still completely wrecked

From last time.”

We say, “My roommate will just go to the

P.O. and just sit in the dark.

He’s good like that.”


We have here learned a new language–

A new tongue, used in new ways,

Contorted and dazed by the process

Of burning time strangely.

Here, time is burned along with fuel

And the smoke of it is broken hearts,

Hearts cast restlessly to the crush

Of unkind waves.

We are each of us a burning

Who chose to go lost to the sea.


Inside a language lives a world

And we have forged of these terms

A cosmos.

The walls of world are cabin wide and yet

We glide the breadth of oceans.

The edges of our world are carved in

Imaginary matter–

A picture, a sound,

The sound of awkward lovemaking

One bunk above–

the picture of a love never lost,

Never orphaned, never apportioned

Her proper lot of homelessness

And so foreign to the waters.

Imaginary matter fills up our veins,

Pushing aside the blood

Streaming through hearts and minds

Seeping through the halls that serve

Each deck as arteries;

And part of me wants to scream

To the part of you that knows this

Entire paper-mache prison is false,

Is made of dreamed-up brick,

Is stacks of sea foam waiting to trick

A wandering heart, but that’s not

Entirely true.


Being undone we undo the stitches

Of our cell so well knitted of people,

Their words and ways of being,

One person to another.

So if you and I together chose

To go lost to the sea and each

Time we meet you become a wall

Tall with indifference,

Then we are building prisons


Fortified by apathy, by exhaustion,

By fear; so, hear me now.

I am not a shade of caramel.

Neither am I blushing cream.

I am not chocolate brown.

I am not a language, not a culture,

Not a background, not an occupation

Or station in life.

I am nothing that can be siphoned

Off of a casual glance at a resume.

I am one, gone out over

The face of the waters, trembling

At the thought of a vanished home

And ten trillion acres of ocean left

To roam.


Our language falters

And fails against the test.

But what I must say isn’t done,

And simply put is simply best–

Complications empty fun;

Here we’ll let it rest.

You are not alone.

Because I am as you are.

And you me.

Each to the other is one.

So can it be for those

Who chose to go lost

To the sea.

1 thought on “For Those Who Chose to Go Lost to the Sea”

  1. Mitchell this is really deep deep deep, just like you. And profound, just like you. Congratulations on the poetry
    slam! Missing you and wondering when we might get to visit again. Let us know when you are coming home

    Love and hugs,

    Aunt Patty

Comments are closed.