How Cousteau’s Coral Killed Picasso: A Poem by Jared Beloff and Adrian Dallas Frandle

Diver in ocean
Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash

How Cousteau's Coral Killed Picasso

Cousteau’s goggle-occluded eyes
speculate on a passing. an inter-
view concerning what time might do
to calcify curiosity for the ailing artist, Picasso.
was the token of a petrified once living wonder
enough to keep a mind afloat? or was polished
spark merely obsession, the dead weight
sink of possessions’ deep drift, circling
undiscovered depths, the murky gray channel,
craggy silted canyon, a cerebral fold,
the ocean floor. stillness
under great pressure.

Picasso’s eyes no longer saw for themselves
polished, in their sockets, gleaming onyx,
a nugget on the nightstand, a horse’s wet eye
terrified, reflecting Cousteau’s, serpentine body
sinewing through the wreckage:
a scratch, a film, fog and salt blurred above
a nose pressed against the glass.
Picasso sights the drowned parachute
its invertebrate spread, a face ungulate
emerging from a bomber’s rusted cove,
gilled agape. the sun is a refracted bulb,
crumpled like a broken window.

a protracted scream. a submersible flash,
homing ping, without reflection
back in the shine. only a cat’s eye
strobe flinching, the slow blink of a man-
sized eye as it closes
to rejoin the silent world.

Scroll to Top