“Stay Afloat Inside”, by Cord Moreski

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“Stay Afloat Inside” Poetry by Cord Moreski, published by Indigent Press in 2016. Posted by Elynn Alexander for Full Of Crow Press.

We all have a floor
                   to rise from

Cord Moreski is a New Jersey Poet, host of Words On Main in Asbury Park and a frequent performer who brings a balance of power and composure to his readings. He is forceful, passionate, he throws himself into the delivery- but he is also a laid back, unassuming guy. He is, in person, like his poetry. His poems are straightforward, but read them twice.  This poetry chapbook from Indigent Press is white, stark, with a simple sketch. And a simple mantra: Stay Afloat Inside. 

Cord Moreski's Poetry Chapbook "Stay Afloat Inside"

Many of these poems return to themes of rebuilding, recovery, pushing through and kicking off from the past and making sense of the walking present with reminders of the people and places of steps past. 

flying back to four years ago

where if I close my eyes
I can still picture
those nights

The poet remains humbled by the past, the vulnerability, vigilance. He can’t go back. He has to confront his choices in the present. In one poem, he chooses club soda and lime instead of a drink:

We all have a floor
       to rise from
I place the sour fruit wedge 
between the blades
of my teeth,

bite down,
and sip the bitterness 
from the pith,

on what’s left
until I break the rind.

Many nameless characters come and go in the pages: a neighbor reckoning with moving on, the impact of a stranger on the street, meeting at traffic lights, the irreversibly sinking ship of a dying body in hospice, losing the surface, no longer afloat. 

Each, in their snapshot, are reconciling losses and in each, the poet is caught off guard and then forced to shut the spigot to keep walking or “get back to work”. We suspect, however, that the weight remains heavy even as life must go on and bills need to be paid by long shifts on his feet “serving faces”. 

Like Alma, the elderly neighbor who collects banana stickers, he collects these faces and their stories and weaves their narratives around his own. They are struggling with what we all are struggling with, to different degrees and on different days, each of us pushing down circumstances to stay ahead of the weather, casting off that weight to stay afloat:

From “My Theory On Buoyancy”

Among the charade of waves
that fold and bend like a living room carpet

I think about the dirt
swept beneath it:

like the journeys we set sail on every day
in hopes for land

I notice it:
a broken anchor

split between its shank
tumbling like a fan blade against shards of sand.

There is something about this
that speaks to me

not because I see the same symbol 
as a figurehead on commercial fishing boats,

or as every exhausted cliche’
found in tattoo parlors,

and shot glasses,
and on overpriced T-shirts.

it is something more,
something beating with a pulse,
something human

that reminds me to continue carrying
my jagged ends and edges.

To keep moving 
and mending towards the solace of shore.

To break free
from the moorings and drags.

To stay afloat inside. 


You can order “Stay Afloat Inside” from Indigent Press and follow Cord Moreski on:

The web
Indigent Press



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Elynn Alexander is the editor and founder of Full Of Crow Press, promoting poetry, fiction, art, and independent creativity. You can contact Elynn Alexander (Lynn) at poetry@fullofcrow.com. Facebook “Page”: www.facebook.com/elynnalexander Twitter: @elynnalexander 

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