Our revelry was short lived that day. Bright and early on Monday morning the fleet we travelled with had cornered a lone pirate ship. Whether the ship was sailing blindly through the early morning hours or simply did not see the four British man-o-wars was a mystery, but sure enough, the lookouts spotted him sailing in our direction. The HMS Falcon and Spirit were slightly ahead of the pirates and so cut off their escape to the west and north. While the Countess of Scarborough, our escort ship, swung around and cut off the southern escape. Now only the Chelsea stood in the way. The pirates headed straight for us, we who were the smallest in the fleet.
Jim had already shown us how to beat to quarters and the five of us stood on the quarterdeck with Captain Anderson while the rest of our company headed to the tops with their weapons. Michael and Chris were sent up as well to do the reloading of rifles for the men, since there was really no need for flag bearers on one of His Majesty's ships.
I watched the ship crawl closer and closer, men scurried over the decks in total chaos, then, not two ship-lengths away it turned to the starboard and gave us a broadside. The crack of cannons was deafening, but we were still facing straight at them and so escaped serious injury. One or two cannon balls ripped through the foresail and the rest plummeted harmlessly into the water behind us. We were now only one ship-length from the pirates and I could see their individual faces. Captain Anderson ordered the helmsman to turn to starboard as well and told the men to prepare for our reply. Six cannons on either side lined the main deck of the Chelsea, 18-pounders, and six on the lower deck as well. Twelve guns on the port side now faced the enemy.
"port guns! Broadside them! Fire!" shouted the Captain. The kickback was tremendous and the ship rolled backwards farther than ever. Splinters flew from the pirates ship , three neat holes appeared in the side, one near the water line, and another three raked across the main deck. Screams of pain rose from the enemy. Our momentum brought us within fifty feet of the pirates, and it seemed as though they had been subdued, until one particularly large man stood up and aimed a fat musket at the quarterdeck.
"Blunderbuss!" Captain Anderson yelled and ducked the head of his first mate and his own. I tackled Jim and Matty just as the shot barked out and over our heads. Alex and Nicholas made it down themselves just in time as well. I noticed the first mate, Thomas Merry, had dropped a pistol. Reaching over I picked it up and swung my arm over the rail, the hammer cocked back and I aimed at the foolish pirate who stayed standing to reload the grapeshot into his gun. I pulled the trigger and the unfortunate man fell with the lead in his shoulder.
When I ducked back down the First Mate was staring at me and smiling. "Practising in your off hours, lad?"
"I was aiming for his head, Sir." I lied and tossed the pistol back. Jim looked at me and whispered a stunned thank you and I ruffled his hair and pulled him and Matty to their feet.
"Prepare to broadside again!&qu
Seven rings wound with silver,one for each time she’s lost her breath,cling tightly to her knucklesas to not slide off her slender fingers,and to help her strum the beat up woodof a yellow ukulele. Her eyes are laced with some sorrowthat harbors in her bonesas she borrows words from famous singersto inject her poisoned soul. The audience is tense.They look around, unsure, concerned,about their heroine’s stature.They close their eyes to hide her image,and only hear her voiceas they remembered on a vinyl. Not this bitter creature.They like their musicians pumped withfalse excitement and jittering in fake amusement.With pre-played records,with smooth, robotic voices. She looks down at 2:27,down at her strumming fingers andantique brass necklace that tells a storyas she repeats the simple phraseto the cold microphone. She smiles. The audience breathes,a harmony ensues,they open their eyes.Her hair looks lighter in the sun,her voice sounds better off-tune.
Once upon a time so far,So far in time I fell uponA girl of beauty and of grace;Of skin so soft, an angel's face!And once a man would fall in dazeHis eyes would simply come a gazeOf this woman's mastered grace.But to kiss the hand of Beauty's QueenShall drop a man right to his knees,For poison's kiss of death shall beThe last a man will ever see.But lucky me!This curse I've seen,So I ran off into the trees.Never now to ever seeAgain the curse of Beauty's Queen.
What if the whole world filled up with water? If God just decided to dump an extra ocean on the world since in the beginning he never actually got to say, “let there be water.” Amid the 8th sea all the fish would gurgle and smile and look at each other and concur, “Yes, this is good.” The whole world would suddenly be waterlogged and sunken, even the cities — the skyscrapers would barely poke out of the surface like the tops of mom’s wine bottles that poke out of their hiding spots. If the whole world filled up with water, used car lots and elementary schools would sit like the pebbles in the bottom of the largest fish tank ever, and parade balloons would float up like seaweed, undulating and dancing with bubbles, reaching up toward the sun to get a lil’ photosynthesis. When it rained, it wouldn’t matter because at the bottom of the new ocean, no one would feel the drops and no one would get caught in the rain and no one would ever have to hold big black umbrellas at funerals. If the whole world filled up with water, the whole surface of the earth would glitter under the sun, like the time mom was passed out on the couch and grandma tried to get rid of me by sending me next door for a cup of sugar and I spilled the whole cup in the dirt and it sparkled. Our backyard looked like it was full of diamonds until it rained four and a half days later. I stole dad’s old umbrella from the closet where mom entombs everything that reminds us of him and I stood in dad’s slippers and watched the whole world get washed away by the rain. The bottoms of my pants got wet, but I still stood out in the rain and thought that if the whole world filled up with water, everyone’s pants would get wet and no one would care.
Free writing on the idea of dreams.
(I've always been heavily influenced by latin magical realism, but it's a hard form to write. I always end up tying myself back to reason and force my stuff to obey unnecessary rules. This is one where I deliberately forced myself to be non-linear and a bit stranger, and I'm fond of the result. Hope you like it!)
Every seat on the bus is taken and much of the space a person could stand in is filled by something that perspires. There are hands running through hair and gathering wetness, brushing the damp bangs from in front of faces. Mothers, sons, daughters, the occasional father, they’re fanning themselves with whatever papers they have, slow as they can, to draw out every ounce of the cool from the heat that hangs around each of us.
20 minutes ago everyone on the bus was milling around in the lobby of the University of Iowa’s main theater, Hancher Auditorium, trying to navigate crowds and lines and follow signs telling us where we might go to begin the process of freshman orientation. My mother and I had snuck in the side door and I watched, from outside the largest throng of people, the parents with proud, nervous smiles and the prospective students with jittering insides. My step carried a swagger, my hands resting in my pockets, the right corner of my mouth turned up slightly with eyes half-closed to create an all-knowing smirk. But the hands in my pockets had torn apart an old receipt in a fit of nerves and my walk was slow to calm my heartbeat. The swagger didn’t exist for my sake, but for the sake of the several hundred girls my age that, at least from my perspective, encompassed most of what was interesting about the scene.
On the bus there’s a smaller group than there was then and I can overhear most of their conversation. Conversational zones insulate the bus, no one ready to expand out of the immediate, comfortable interaction their families and friends can offer. A boy gets frustrated with his mom for trying to fix his hair, a bit mussed in the heat of summer. In response, she’s wise enough to smile, enough to see her days in his.
2 hours from now I’ll be sitting in a conference room being told what I should expect from my college experience.
The future CEOS, the astronauts, the authors and the entrepreneurs, those are what I see. There are people around me who will fulfill their dreams or won’t. I look over the sweating faces and find it difficult to see the academics and the substance abuse and the quick, sudden expansion of worlds and horizons that I’ve come to associate with college. It’s more, I think, that I’m surrounded by futures. And in this moment I choose to look to my right from my spot standing at the left rear of the bus. There’s a girl sitting down at the back that I can see in between the arms of someone grasping at something to brace themselves for the bus and its nauseating swerve. Their arms form an odd, ovular frame around her face and torso that secures my focus.
if you've never worn my boot
don't judge the way it looks
it's been from here
to hell and back
and it still holds my foot.
it's tattered, torn, and shredded;
ripped from seam to seam,
but you'll never wear these boots
If you'd known what they have seen.
From broken hearts
to shattered dreams;
To all the times I'd hurt so badly
I'd only want to scream
To things I've said
and all I'd done wrong;
to all the places
I no longer belong.
To all the people that I had hurt;
I'd take back all that dirt!
But we're only given one pair
to last us through this walk ahead.
So wear 'em proud and do 'em right
or these boots will find you dead.
So, if you've never worn my boot
don't judge the way it looks
it's been from here
to hell and back
and it still holds my foot.
Here's something I just recently put together. Simple, short. I'm not very poetic, and I know very little about modern poetry, so I'm mostly just slapping words on paper.