So on my recent expedition, I finally had an open sea encounter with a Great Hammerhead shark. Technically, I had one at Protea Banks in South Africa, but it was VERY fast and mostly fleeting – all I saw was it’s caudal fin speeding it away from our group of divers.
In Florida, to quote erstwhile shark fisherman Quint, I got the head, tail, the whole damn thing. Unfortunately, Great Hammerheads are a speedy fish and this one was on a mission (my camera battery also died, so I didn’t get a shot), so it was similarly fleeting. But I saw it – and now, when it comes to the big sharks – I’ve only got three left I need to tally in the wild: a tiger, a basking, and a megamouth.
Sadly – this was not the only thing I would see on this dive. I witnessed a man die. The news article I’ve linked to glosses over what happened, but it was a fairly grisly way to die. As a spectator to it, I’ve been trying to make sense of it – and gosh, let’s see how my brain reacts the next time I do a big step off a dive deck or try to get up on a ladder out of the ocean. This poem is an attempt to reconcile what I know and what I don’t know about death. Continue reading “Death at Sea (New Poem)”
On July 8th at Shark-Con in Tampa, FL, I will be releasing a brand new collection of poems, essays, and art called “Cap’n Klute’s Ocean Almanac, Vol. 44 #2”! It’s probably the most ambitious project I’ve ever embarked on. It’s a collection of some of the essays and poetry, and I’ve commissioned a whole bunch of illustrations and drawings from some of Arizona’s top talent to present the work in a way you’ve never seen before. I’m really excited.
And to sweeten the deal, I’m including an exclusive book-only essay on tiki bar culture and sharks! The essay also includes two drink recipes I’ve created, the Blue Guadalupe and the Waidroka Angel, and if you come to Shark-Con you can buy tiki mugs to serve those drink recipes in (note: that tiki in the picture is not what I’m selling, that’s one from my private collection).
As always, any and all profits from the books, tiki mugs, t-shirts, and stuff for the little remoras in your school get donated to shark conservation groups.
So if you love sharks, if you love the ocean, if you love tiki bar culture, and like it all with a little chaser of sarcasm, you know where you need to be on July 8th and 9th.
Come to the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, FL and indulge your love of all things sharky, and stop by my booth, and say hi!
Follow Shark-Con on Facebook, or on Twitter – there might be some upcoming discounts. You never know.
“The Prophecy of Teeth and Blood”, my first shark poem, written in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It was performed to great effect* by Team Mesa 2010 at the National Poetry Slam by myself, Brit Shostak (now of Portland, OR), Tristan Marshell, and Lauren Perry.
This weekend (April 1st, 2017) I attended the 2nd Annual Verde Valley Comic Expo, put together by the Northern Arizona Cartoonist Association, to spread the word about sharks and the peril they face. Many kids stopped by the booth either to ask questions about sharks, or to watch the dive videos from my recent expedition to Fiji’s Coral Coast, or my past expeditions to Isla Guadalupe in Mexico.
When I walked into the venue, I was introduced as “Phoenix’s leading shark expert” – which, flattering, but probably not true! Ernesto, when inviting me, asked me to consider writing a shark erotica piece. I was up to the challenge!
One of the things I’m attempting to do with the Chumming the Waters/Words for the Men in Grey Suits project is do change the perspective of sharks from their place in our culture as monsters to beasts worthy of celebration and song (or poetry, as is my medium).
Some cultures, however, need no perspective shift. For those who practice native Hawai’ian beliefs, sharks, very often tiger sharks, are already seen as not just worthy of protection, but as part of the family. In this poem, I am writing not from the perspective of the practitioner of those beliefs, but from the tiger sharks who learns of his place in this belief.
Thank you to Jack Stone, Hawaiian Cultural Advisor, whose advice was invaluable in clearing up some choices in this poem that may not have been respectful of those beliefs (any errors/appropriations that may still exist in this poem remain mine – and as always, I welcome feedback!). Continue reading “Poem – The Sound of Their Drums”