EIGHT DUDES

Eight dudes from different backgrounds 
Different ages
Floating around on the worlds ocean
Month after month after month

On a tramp freighter
Kevin speaks with a smile
“Bobby Chacon is a bad motherfucker”
Bobby Chacon is an interesting story

There was no law
There was no doctor
In those days there was no communication
You were on your own 

We came into a New England port at 2:00am
We were carrying Naptha
Toxic fumes poured out of the ullage vents
A toxic cloud covered the deck

It was one of the coldest early mornings
Of a very cold winter
We worked hour after hour surrounded by dead frozen steel
Later

Seventy something, Ed
With over fifty years at sea 
Spoke quietly in the warmth of the mess
“I have never been that cold in my fucking life”

Later the following afternoon
We dropped the lines
And turned for the sun of Panama
Sometimes

At times like this
Cleaning up the dishes after dinner 
Speaking to the younger about cleaning his room
I wonder

Where are they now?
Of course, I know the answer
Most, if not all are dead 
Seaman turn to the last page of the union newspaper, The Log

The way people of towns turn to the police report 
Scanning the blurred faces and names
Under, Final Departures”
Bits and pieces drift back to me now and again 

I really have no interest
In there or here
I read a captivating quote the other day
It has stayed with me

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old” Franz Kafka