Eel Soup Digression

Peter Jay Shippy

Because the navigator didn't understand that the crease in the map depicted a crease in the sea, the ship had to weigh anchor. The captain forced the navigator to row a dinghy through the line, to reckon its effects.


Meanwhile, in the galley, the cook was creating a bouillabaisse—conger eel, sea robins, fennel, cod bones, bouquet garni, saffron, mussels, olive oil, garlic, white wine, smoke of the afterlife, French bread, cayenne pepper, little neck clams, tomato paste, and Thibault, the very lobster that was conducted through the streets of Paris by Gérard de Nerval.


Concurrently, the navigator was remembering a poem about a boy who thought the crescent moon was a broken moon and the stars were its pieces. He could smell the soup. At least, he thought, as the water began to churn, I'll have something good to eat tonight.

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Peter Jay Shippy is the author of four previous collections, including A Spell of Songs and Thieves’ Latin, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize. Twice his work has appeared in the Best American Poetry Series. Shippy has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and The National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at Emerson College.

Is a Kaputnik addicted to failing or a prophet of our kaputs to come!? In his 5th book of poems, Peter Jay Shippy uses talk—not as it escapes our lips—but as it’s heard from inside our skulls, orbiting from ear to ear to ear. He leads us from a noir haunted movie palace to a mother grinding birds into powder and finally to an Ubu who removes his tinfoil crown to hail spring, “Not a single UFO in the sky!” Peter Jay Shippy again delivers his signature humor and playfulness in the unforgettable Kaputniks.

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