Thursday, December 11, 2014

Some memories

Its one of those stranger moments in my life.  With the windows rolled down in the middle of winter, blasting Christmas music to the abandoned houses and steel mills.  Singing as terribly as I can, at the top of my lungs.  Chasing [C]’s car down winding potmarked potholed roads, like a child chasing fireflies, the little light of his cigarette blinking into view when he raises it for a drag.  The cold air is blowing my hair around my cheeks and for a moment I could be anywhere.  I feel like I can be anything.  I remember a cool day when I was 14 walking back from the nursing home where I would sneak my great aunt pizza.  2nd avenue.  Something about the way the wind was blowing my hair against my cheeks, I never forgot it.  And again I just know, I will never forget this, tonight.  I wonder where the wind is coming from.  I think it was nor’east those years ago in my old neighborhood in New York City.  

Cause I’ve always like a strong nor’east breeze best.  Its a feral wind.  Not like the lazy southern whispers of summer in the tristate areas waters, or western puffs, warm like stories and memories.  The Nor’east wind can be cold a bitter one, it can be savage and inviting at the same time.  It can swell into a gale and make every hair on your body stand on end as it shakes a rig.  And it can paint a memory on me.  I sail easterlies in the Carribean these days, but I still like a good nor’eastern breeze.  

We’re almost home now.  I got a song starting to stir in my heart - me and [C] driving cars.  A little drunk.  But we started our engines for home before we felt we’d had too much.  Perhaps that means were growing up.  And “Oh god!” I cry laughing, when the subject lights our minds. We shout “Being a grown up sucks!”  It does.  Sometimes.

My headlights flicker for the last time - they’re still broken - while I turn off my hazards and pocket my keys.

“Tell me Im not the most obnoxious thing on the road!”  I shout at his car across from mine.
“Just cause its you, its okay.”  He says.  

And as soon as we’re inside and warm, with Brooklyn jumping at our feet and Harley cat running away knocking over things, I’m running back out in a t-shirt laughing and yelling for the forty of Old E. I forgot I bought in its brown paper bag under the passenger side foot well.  I think I may never forget this.  Well, I hope I never will.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

On Squid Fishin

On Squid Fishin

I reason with myself while sorting through fish that I think its the camaraderie I miss most.  The haul away, hold, talking ferries and tugs with our hands, last sail, god damn, is it Stella time, yet?  I miss knowing what I’m doing, being somebody (sometimes) looked up too.  Not that status or position was even important to me, but suddenly it almost is, although the longing for it feels more like homesickness than anything else.  And that is a feeling I have only begun to experience in recent years.  Homesick.  Home.  I spent so long looking for it yet still only find it after Ive traded the goodbye beers and hugs.  Or when I realize Im all alone again.  Friends.  I miss my friends.  I miss having friends.  Sometimes I feel spoiled for thinking like that sometimes.  I mean, most of my life its been just me and some poor stray animal I’ve convinced to follow me.  Ive never needed anyone else.  Facebook is for that, and phone calls and letters.  My pup, some food to share with him and some place to lay our heads has always seemed to suffice.  And we have it all now!  A good home, not just a bed but clean blankets and all my books and all his toys.  Money for laundry and food, smokes and booze.  A little bit of pool or drive to a state park every now and then.  But still I long, wondering if perhaps the world won’t cure the hurt in me, poor Brooklyn in tow.
The grass is always greener behind us.  And I wouldn’t mind a friend.  Maybe.  Just one.  My age and not trying to screw me?  And now I’m ranting and wishing for too much again.  

Squid.  Im a disaster.  It would be a blatant lie to say anything short of that, and in my opinion its a rather lenient description of my attempts.  For the first time in my life since I was 14 I am green afoot a deck.  A stranger aboard a vessel where nothing is the same anymore.  I put the hook on the doors wrong, I forget what order things go, in which way.  I don’t get in the way.  I think.  Most of the time.  I try.  I hope that makes up for the rest.  I try, sometimes embarrassingly too hard, (and of course in all my graceless and awkward splendor), but I still try.  And I think I’m getting better at it, or at least I tell myself that.  I can almost lift the bushels to the top of the bulwarks now.    And yeah alright, I’ll admit it, there is a good amount of cursing, stumbling and laughing from my crew mate.  But hey, its an improvement, and with all the fouling and wreck thats defined my summer, I will shameless take pride in that.  There are new sounds Im learning to enjoy to replace my dear luffing Dacron and whipping halyards, rigging singing in a strong wind.  I find rhythm in the hydraulics, casting the net before dawn, and a drumroll as they work to bring it back up.  Right after a cigarette, sunrise, big money big money big money quietly praying over and over in my brain. 

There’s new games to play.  Landing skate on the outriggers and whipping sea robin at gulls replace quarters on buoys and perfect tacks.  I figured out I can pump the ink out of squid before smacking my crew mate in the face with them.  Im proud of that.  Though he thought of smacking each other with them first…. that was an interesting day.    I want to learn everything.  What all the fish are, all the knots.  How to use the big steel winches right, I don’t even know the right word for them still.  In one ear and out the other, somedays all it seems I can remember is the image of hundreds of squid burned into the back of my eyes.  I could never not learn things like this before.  I want to know Mary Rose like I knew Shearwater, eyes closed hearing whats set right, whats tied wrong.  Everything done the best way, the fastest way, in its place.  Knowing just how much to brace myself when I see a large wake.  Dear god do I stumble around the deck.  [cptj] says I’m not the only one, she’s a round bottom so she does roll a bit.  But honestly, Im worse than the observers some days.  I don’t complain about it, at least.  Thats another one I keep hoping will be enough for now.

And every now and then a sail goes by in the distance.  Usually some modern rig, some racer, something I’d rather have nothing to do with, I said once.   Suddenly it doesn’t matter anymore what year she was built, what style is her hull.  White triangles proud and tall, they just mean something.  Now one more time, far from a tavern I once called home, perhaps even same boots different girl, I find myself  daydreaming a world made of little sounds, a believer of sailing ships once again.

We jump in the ocean everyday to rinse the ink off, my crew mate and I.  Bullshit in the sand, sometimes get pizza.  But I find myself awkward and weird with him.  He comes from the other side of the coin where they have TV, and names on the tags of their clothes, networks of friends that rarely change and everyone has clean hair and their favorite beer when they want it.  And though invited enough to join in, they may as well speak a different language to me.   Even the timing of a handshake or hug is a struggle in my wild and backwinded mind.  I try.  I guess I still try.  And wonder if I have a friend, if I knew how to ask that in that normal watching (what do they watch, Conan O’Brian?  They used to watch that in Cali) language,  how to even be that, say that, what is that to them, what defines that?  Lost again.

Enough.  It is time for sleep.  Accept that I’ll be who I am even if thats embarrassing, accept that I know nothing, accept that maybe all I am capable of communicating with is my dog and with my hands, be it music, sketch or ink.  I excuse myself (and its phony, oh I know its phony!) that i tried to hard on everything else today.  Why bother with what I have long ago proved I am just bad at. 
So I drive home thinking of canvas in my hands, and wake up praying for squid.
Camaraderie.  Yes, that is what I miss most.  "Is this squid to small?"

"Keep it."