the mermaids ball - tofino oyster fest poetry

The Mermaid's Ball

Tofino Oyster Fest poem by David Floody, Tofino

the letter 'I'
It was the night of Tofino's Mermaid's Ball,
and Ernie was a bit overwhelmed by it all.
Being a bit shy, from Ontario.
He wasn't at all sure he had the courage to go.

His wife, Maureen, had been preparing for weeks.
She'd worked hard on her costume, only giving him peeks
A shimmering green, with sea-stars on each breast.
That made Ernie jealous--those were his places to rest.

Her waist was encircled with green ribbon streaks.
that hung to her toes like strange mutant leeks.
Her face was all sprinkled with sparkly bits,
like Santa came early with fine Christmas zits.

But Ernie said nothing; Ernie kept mum.
Ernie was short, but he wasn't that dumb.
Maureen said: "Now Ernie what will you wear?
I can't have some loser escorting me there."

So Ernie had left it all a bit late.
There was no escaping this terrifying date.

He rummaged his closet; he pulled out his drawers.
The clothes he discovered were sartorial horrors--

The orange shirt from Hawaii. The skinny black pants.
Two pink jelly balls that might shake if he danced.
Half-a-dozen green ribbons he'd cribbed from Maureen,
A pathetic Prince Charming not up for the scene.

And it all unfolded just as Ernie had feared.
Maureen was magnificent; her costume endeared.
He could only stand by while she delighted all eyes.
Then reaped huge applause for a best costume prize.

Ernie clapped too, but sank into a fug.
He was lower than even the lowest sea slug.
But what could he do to recover such shame . . . ?
Then like a tsunami, a possibility came.

Ernie took a deep breath and readied his gut.
When it came to raw oysters he'd kept his mouth shut.
But he boldly stepped forward in front of the crowd.
"I'll eat three!" he declared." The laughter was loud.

Now Ernie had seen such contests before,
And gladly stood back well away from the floor.
Though he had to admit it was entertaining,
He already felt his new resolve draining.

Ernie eye-balled his oysters and thought what the Hell.
He would show them respect. He would treat the three well.
"Yo dudes! He began. "What might be your names?"
"I'm Bruce," one spoke up. "This is Richard and James."

"I'm Ernie," he said. Pleased to meet you and all.
And how are you enjoying the mermaids and ball?"
"Are you some new species of lame human dink?"
We're lying here half-naked. What do you think?"

"But the breasts of those mermaids, isn't that what you seek
--to latch onto those and filter-feed for a week?
"Once maybe," said Richard, "when we had both our shells.
Now being naked and eaten is just two different Hells."

"Right," said James. Just get on with it Ernie.
That stupid shirt that you're wearing is making us squirmy."
Back in the crowd, Maureen stepped to forward to see.
She'd heard James's comment and had to agree.

Maureen had her doubts. Could poor Ernie do it?
Suck down what he feared, like there wasn't much to it?
Yet Ernie took up all three in one hand,
widely opened his mouth and shortly began.

But Ernie didn't suck them, to the crowd's dismay.
No Ernie didn't--not right away.
Instead, from his mouth issued words to impress,
That he hoped would make up for his lack of fun dress.

"Yo! Mollusk dudes! You have been shucked.
You now have no choice. You are about to be sucked.
But I swear that never again shall I see,
A shellfish posse as cool as you three.

Three dudes whose mossy shells were pressed
Against the sea's all-nourishing breast.
Whose tender flesh is so sweetly salted.
A gourmet's delight! A taste exalted!"

As Maureen watched in green-eyed wonder,
Ernie lifted his tongue and slipped Bruce under.
He rolled his eyes and solemnly swallowed.
James and Richard quickly followed.

Ernie turned and faced the crowd.
He smiled a bit and slightly bowed.
The applause that followed restored his pride.
And in a moment Maureen was there by his side.

No, Ernie didn't win that Mermaid's Ball prize,
But he saw new respect in Maureen's sea-green eyes.
And later that night, after all of the rest
He laid his head gently between sea-star breasts.

David is a member of the Clayoquot Writers Group and a refugee from the east who is still trying trying to master the west coast art of sucking fresh oysters with elegance.

Tofino festivals

Tofino Time Magazine January 2009

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Tofino oyster fest poem 'The Mermaid's Ball' by David Floody, a member of the Clayoquot Writers Group, from Tofino Time Magazine.

tofino time january 2009

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