The Floater

Floating anchor
The Floater
by Kieran Borsden
I can’t breathe through my eyes –
neither sincere, pure nor simple
on the side of the canal;
banked on the edge of a lifetime
expanded in algae
as reanimated dead skin.
I own a single stone, my pedestal –
anchored to language
without tongues – submerged
beneath the blue,
between the summer
crap and clockwork
bones – embanked on secrets
strangers share.
I forget my name;
forgot to exhale my former –
I can’t breathe through my eyes.

0 thoughts on “The Floater

  1. Let’s work through this. “I can’t breathe through my eyes,” a strong paradoxical image. Could it mean I can’t bear what I see; it leaves me lifeless? The second stanza seems to establish the narrator’s position, maybe literally “on the side of the canal,” metaphorically “banked on the edge of a lifetime.” “Expanded in algae as reanimated dead skin” makes me think the persona is dead, perhaps by pollution but come back to some kind of life, if only in the poem. Yet the conditions there, what brought that about, are “neither sincere, pure nor simple”–referring to the poem’s first line. “I own a single stone, my pedestal”–a statue? “Anchored to language without tongues” sounds like something from the unconscious, “submerged beneath the blue” reinforcing the water imagery; “between the summer crap and clockwork bones” bringing the pollution and death ideas together, associated with workaday life. “Embanked on secrets strangers share” echos “on the edge of a lifetime;” but strangers don’t share secrets, or, if they do, only at extremes of existence, which is where this poem may be taking place. The sharing may be an unconscious, instinctive thing. The next lines seem to indicate the narrator is in a limbo transition state–forgetting the present, but having forgotten to let go of (exhale) the past; another way of describing death. “Exhale” connects with the last (and first) line. I see a dead fish, eyes open, at the polluted edge of its lifetime, communicating to us what it can feel like to be human.

  2. I see a reader inhaling on the pauses, exhaling on the vowels, the mouth opening to burst to the sound of the consonant. This control of breathing through the eyes takes in the letter forms. The poem is a call to respond in kind. You can inhale the words but to exhale takes a pause and a release. Write.

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