The Captain ( A Street Poem)

He sat all alone, drinking jim beam and coke

Looking out as the waves crashed ashore

He kept to himself, drinking jim beam and coke

As the storm winds would batter the door

He’d only come in when the weather was rough

Sitting alone, drinking Jim Beam and coke

Looking out at the waves never saying a word

Just this man and his Jim Beam and coke

He’d lived all his life in this sea faring town

Working ships from the time he was ten

He grew up real fast on the high roiling seas

Doing work that was best left for men

His father had run a small fleet of five

Chasing cod up the Grand Banks each year

But as cod stocks declined and the fishing died out

His old man sold off his old gear

One boat was left, a shrimper, it was

It was christened the “Bain of my Life”

It was a jab at his job, but as his dad liked to say

“I named the damn boat for me wife!”

They ran this old boat till the paint was worn off

Fixing nets, running traps and old lines

Catching shrimp, heading home….and time after time

Getting soaked in the stormy old brine

He sat in the bar looking out as the waves

Grew and intensified more

With his Jim Beam and Coke, looking out to the sea

And dried peanut shells crushed on the floor

When the fair weather came, he was never about

He was down by the ships holding court

For as sea farers go and tellers of tale

He was the best one they had in this port

He told of the time that their boat had been hit

By a wave twice as tall as the ship

But his dad kept her up, and they only lost pots

And the “Bain” proved she couldn’t be flipped

On fair weather days he would  start out his day

At the Church of the Maritime Witch

It was a small little bar, serving breakfast till ten

And the bartender there was a bitch

At least that’s his word to describe Betty Jean

He would call her this name and then grin

For he’d known  Betty Jean for his whole bloody life

She was this old seafarers sister, his twin

She’d run the old bar for about 40 years

Took it on when she lost on a bet

She ‘s been there ever since and she won’t tell a soul

How she lost and why she’s never left yet

But, on days like today, she’d shut down the bar

Batten windows and hope for the best

For with 90 knot winds and just plywood and nails

Her bar would be put through a test

So he’d come up here drinking Jim Beam and coke

Watching out to the sea past the break

He watch for the ships coming in from the storm

Seeing just how much sea  they could take

He’d name 40 men who he knew lost their lives

Facing death on the water to fish

But there only was one for  who he’d give up his place

and that was his eternal wish

His son was lost out on the bubbling sea, chasing cod

When they knew there were few

He was out on a ship that was captained by him

and a small, inexperienced crew

His son was swept off by a swell straight from hell

It was two miles long if an inch

He was working the nets when the rogue wave did hi

ttaking his son, two pots and a winch

He’d spent fifteen years searching daily for him

His body had never been found

Davy Jones held it fast in the depths of the sea

To which his sons soul forever was bound

He gave up his search and he never went back

Never fished for a shrimp or a cod

He’d just sit on the dock watching out at the waves

Praying silently this prayer to God

“Please give me my son, so I can bury him whole”

“Let him surface so he can find peace”

“I only ask this, for my sister and me”

“And for his daughter, my dear little niece”

“We’ve waited for years for a sign…even small”

“Just to show us that your job is done”

“I’ll never go out on the water again”

“Regardless of how strong they run”

“I ask you dear Lord, for his body to see”

“So we can consecrate him back to the earth”

“This is all I ask, and I will ask no more”

“Just how much is my dear son’s life worth”

With an amen and a smoke to finish it off

He’d head back to his sisters to sit

He’d drink Jim Beam and coke till “the bitch” sent him home

With a hug and a kis and a “git”!

But on days like today he’d watch waves crash ashore

Hoping no more were lost to the sea

Drinking Jim Beam and coke, sitting all on his own

Wishing God would set his son free

If you’re down by the docks when the weather is fine

Look for him and he’ll tell you a tale

But don’t ask about that terrible night

When he lost his young son to a swale


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