Michael McClure – For the Death of 100 Whales

In April, 1954, Time magazine described seventy-nine bored American G.I.s stationed at a NATO base in Iceland murdering a pod of one hundred killer whales. In a single morning the soldiers, armed with rifles, machine guns, and boats, rounded up and then shot the whales to death.

Hung midsea
Like a boat mid-air
The liners boiled their pastures:
The liners of flesh,
The Arctic steamers

Brains the size of a teacup
Mouths the size of a door

The sleek wolves
Mowers and reapers of sea kine.
THE GIANT TADPOLES
(Meat their algae)
Leapt
Like sheep or children.
Shot from the sea’s bore.

Turned and twisted
(Goya!!)
Flung blood and sperm.
Incense.
Gnashed at their tails and brothers
Cursed Christ of mammals,
Snapped at the sun,
Ran for the Sea’s floor.

Goya! Goya!
Oh Lawrence
No angels dance those bridges.
OH GUN! OH BOW!
There are no churches in the waves,
No holiness,
No passages or crossings
From the beasts’ wet shore.

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