Magellan’s Reveries by R. Nemo Hill


We spend so much of our lives focused on the common thread of our own experience—often far too eager to unravel the whole fabric into which we’ve been so exhaustively woven, just to find that single strong string we can cling to as self. The world is full of such heroic threads, and it makes for a rather unstable tapestry, one at times in tatters. History offers us some basic perspective on the complex art of weaving, but then again it is those single brightly colored strands that we tend to elevate and adulate, those public streams—christened ‘talent’, even ‘genius’—whose exemplary currents we find so irresistible in our search for what makes each one of us unique.

Magellan was a strong thread, an heroic one. He was, on many levels, self-consumed. Though I have not glossed over any of the unsavory political aspects of his voyage of discovery, I have never judged him. I have merely tried to let the fire of his self-consumption burn until his world was washed with its own ash.

The connection between us was already there—water, travel, and Portugal (where I lived for a short but intense period)—all were our shared intimates. As a child I was fascinated with the great explorers, a fascination that has survived their historical de-coronation in the post-colonial era. A man perched at the bow of a wind-propelled ship, headed off into the absolutely unknown—that was enough to spark my imagination then, as a child, and even now, as an adult. It was necessary for me, as I wrote, to become Magellan, just as it was necessary for him, as he wrote through me, to become each wave of the ocean on which he set himself so determinedly adrift.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 106
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: March. 2019
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-23-7


~ Third Reverie of Magellan ~

Men who bring no tools with which to serve.
Men whose desperate oath is: ‘We will serve’.

Dried and salted. Blistered until brittle.
Boiled in lye and weevil. Casked. Preserved.

Bastard son of a slave of a nameless ship’s cook!
‘Your beard stinks of the smoke of those who serve!’

The psalms of the orphaned, who turn the half-hourglass:
‘Water. Sand. God of our Time, we serve.’

Praise barber’s pelican, red wine and oakum,
turpentine, quince jelly, pitch. All serve.

Castilian, Basque, Sicilian, Português,
‘Al cuarto! Al cuarto!’ ‘On deck! On deck!’—to serve.

Ass-back to the railing, bowel’s exposed
to all—. Leviathan, your dinner’s served!

We teach the rats to dance on dead calm nights.
Which man believes he gets what he deserves?

At last you’ve won your reeking ship, Magellan,
this tub of vinegar your rage would serve.


R. Nemo HillR. Nemo Hill was born on Long Island, and has lived in New York City, San Francisco, Portugal, and now resides in an enormous old stone farmhouse in Halcott, NY, in the Catskill Mountains. He has travelled extensively, principally in Southeast Asia. He did not graduate from college and so does not earn his living ‘academically’. Rather, he has been a baker, a raunchy greeting card salesman, and for two decades an importer of folk-art and fabric from Indonesia. At present he runs an indigo-dyeing operation with his husband, Julio Perea.

He is the author, in collaboration with painter Jeanne Hedstrom, of an illustrated novel, organized around the processes of Medieval alchemy, Pilgrim’s Feather (Quantuck Lane Press, 2002); a narrative poem based upon a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, The Strange Music of Erich Zann (Hippocampus Press, 2004); a chapbook in heroic couplets, Prolegomena To An Essay On Satire (Modern Metrics/Exot Books, 2006); and two collections of poems, When Men Bow Down (Dos Madres Press, 2012) and In No Man’s Ear (Dos Madres Press, 2016). He is also editor & publisher of EXOT BOOKS.

Additional information

Weight 7.4 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in