For Herbert Kearney 1963-2021
The strand was crowded with broken boats
the Mighty Herbert ,the Lost Herbert
Herbie the Mystic Clown, the Irish Menace.
Barefoot, avoiding the splinters I touched
the name plates’ twisted copper.
Some letters had rubbed down to null
and the ruined hulls were half pieces
of a drum a god-child had played.
O child of god I prayed on the wet sand
let the soul of Herbert Kearney fly whole
to the mothership in the sky, an upside down
boat of a constellation spreading pink light
on black dark. Wasted— like all light— on us.
“Do not despair” said his voice in everything
he made: the tumbling horse skeleton
he sat in proclaiming ruin as queen.
And the thick angel he lifted to show me
hope was no good here , only faith
could hold the pieces together
as they fell apart in his hands.
A video of Herbert Kearney in his studio discussing The Mother Ship and The Angel