In the Open Sea

Photo © Sönke Johnsen.

We live on an alien planet
beautiful and creepy
dangerous and hopeful
iridescent inhabitants
luring mates or dinner
giant eyes that almost never
enjoy even the dimmest light
all begging to be touched

But we’re not that different
aren’t you and I just bags of water
surrounding a tummy
wandering our worlds — alone
looking for someone who’ll send
a familiar signal

My prompt tonight was a lecture at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences called A Tale of Two Brothers: Art Meets Science in the Open Sea. I wrote the above poem during the presentation and then read it aloud to the audience alongside three my favorite Living Poets.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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17 Responses to In the Open Sea

  1. Stacey C. Johnson says:

    Cheers to this familiar signal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • During the lecture, he talked about a little fish whose eggs form around the female’s lips and turn green when they’re ready for fertilization so one signal is what looks like a green Life Saver candy floating around. I was thinking of including green lipstick in the poem but that line didn’t make the cut.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michele Lee says:

    A creative and poetic perspective on humanity!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your poem’s perspective of our planet and ourselves is stunning! Eloquently expressed! <3

    Liked by 1 person

  4. berniebell1955 says:

    “But we’re not that different…”

    Indeed – we’re not….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. berniebell1955 says:

    Egggg-zactly – we were talking about this only yesterday – how we humans are still basically the same as we have been for millennia – same instincts.

    We were talking specifically about reproduction – how people still have this need to reproduce themselves, but it’s got out of control – there are too many of us, which could end up with us being the source of our own destruction. But we don’t take that on board.

    Yes, I like to see babies – I go goo-goo about our neighbour’s baby – wrote a little poem for her…

    Baby’s Smile

    I say ‘Hello’
    And her face lights up
    With a big smile.

    Six months old
    Just learning
    Taking it all in
    And smiling….

    BB Feb 2023

    Instincts. ‘Gawd ‘elp us all.

    I think I’m preaching to the converted here!

    Liked by 1 person

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