[Table of Contents]



Evan Nicholls


Tonight we play a Leonard Cohen record from the Victor at the bow of the longboat, but the record is scratched & easily mistook for the cries of cooked villagers & Gregorian chant. This is the searching. After every chapel or set of thatched huts, we lug chests, grails, tabernacles & bright flatware into the hull, which holds an enormous volcanic stew pot. None of us care about the gold. We are melting it down & you would not understand. Our diet is small barnacles & nettled urchins, dished out family-style on a single waxed shield. Later the contrition of an oar. And when Leonard needs flipping, we do so. We lower the square sail: a naked mast is also a cross. We throw hatchets at each other's shadows. We keep the record playing. Between the waves & pin-holy night, all of us sit & listen to the 45 calling like a vacuous hand or fire. Wanting for some master's voice.






"Vikings" comes from a series that reimagines collectives of people; the poems twist conventional understandings of each group and explores how they move under one label through an uncaring world. The last line of this poem is inspired by the Francis Barraud painting, "His Master's Voice," which was also trademarked by the Victor Talking Machine Company. See the painting [here].