The Improvised Exhortation of a Drowning Navy Sailor

As a boy, he cared little and sought a lot. From even the young age when many children cower at the legs of their father or cry impetuously for attention and guidance, he had established his own system of autonomous prerogative such that his adventures along the wooden floor and forays into the yard might be reconciled with his obvious dependence on the nourishment from his mother, so as not to seed the bitterness of maternal strictures to clasp and grip at the respective bases and bottom of his lungs and brain stem. Through adolescence, he developed into a veritable miscreant, not having thrown off the good wisdom of his youth, rather fleeing the tightening fear-lock of a mother who would keep any child but a toddler pinned against her bosom. Young manhood found a powerful rascal, who, impassioned by a touch of something good, sacrificed to man’s favorite god and upon the altar placing his heart he revered the impulses. Wayward bottles and broken ways brought him staggering to the deadstaking query of rehabilitation: a complacent end, or a disciplined one. Prepared not as he was to cease, he pressed on. Duty anoints with blessings the steps of the wild, the fearful, the vulgar the faithless. A career in the U.S. Navy found him free within the manners & modes commanded. Savvy and confidence earned him respect, and his intelligence would credit those laudable rapscallions working around and with him in their fight for a moral and practical creed.

He stood now on the bow of his ship, Lady Impulse, her commander, proud lover & humbled learner. And as she sinks sinks toward the deep, his people hear his address and remark at the beatitude of a drowning fool. This is how he exhorted them:

“I’ve sailed all these waters, but neither I nor the waters wish to quit the surface living.

Oh you People! What we could do!

Perhaps we do it already; for life exists in all, and monks brew wine.

I can see everyone; I can feel the cracking planks submerging;

I can feel the water at my ankles.

Board the rafts and lifeboats – quick! Preserve yourselves, but hear me while you do.

Float off back to your far off homes.

Then exclaim loudly and laud gratefully whatever gods exist above,

For with the sight to see ourselves

we have the sight to see our blessings!

So kiss farewell your petty angers. No souls who know what is right prefer trivial peeves over humble experience.

Cast off your narrow vision, and with your new eyes consider yourself worthwhile!

Sadness entitles no one to complacency.

Be not afraid of what might occur during the silence or the waiting;

Blemish neither of these with your rashness, I beg you!

For the grandest colors have enraptured me when I felt stuck silly, and the quiet –

accompanied it makes us love each other in our simpleness & laugh at it too and understand our essences and cultivate the trust & substance necessary for better words to come;

alone it forces us to identify the parts of ourselves which are actually genuine and real – it forces us to face all that is marked by the icecap and hidden in the deep.

I beg you! Accept not the alure of impulse in lieu of consciousness and courage!

Cite not the habits of your yesterday selves as justification to succumb to the weakness of your flesh;

neither justify these habits by comparison to your own greater sins.

There is an ounce of the passion which follows from consciousness lodged within your mental constitution – chase it!

I consider you beautiful because what is pure and incredible presents itself extraordinarily; I remain willfully blind to the most of your self, the vile mass.

I have it too, this vile mass.

Leave it in the waters – let it sink with me.

We are forever enigmas to each other and ourselves.

So entitle to yourselves nothing;

And make peace within your hearts.”

With this, he submerged.

I harbor this funny fancy – albeit incommensurate, that upon his inhalation of the waters and departure to a separate plane, he washed up choking on a decrepit rocky beach. And having coughed and screamed and pulled himself from his elbows and knees, he found an empty lawn chair and settled down to wait for me.


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