Cab•a•lier /ˌkæbəˈlɪər, ˈkæbəˌlɪər/

He is a sailor, of a violent sea-cabal
Can be a woman, of course a woman
Is one with a deadened soul, a dirty mongrel of a man
Escorts his lovers, but only with force
The Cabalier is the tool of no nation, or king
He is adjective. Haughty and violent, arrogant and unkempt
But rationed, rationalized
Poor with order and ceremony
Too drunk to remember his place in line and angry upon confrontation
Is of or pertaining to the Cabal
Is of or pertaining to the artists, poets, and radical clerics
To be played, dressed as, imitated until realized

What he does is more important. He is standing on the edge, sticking a fist in the ass of the breach. There, on the shoreline, he kicks and beats and strangles. His eyes burnt bleach red and his neck ticked with mounting pain, he fights further out, lashing with mounted panic and pushing and winning for a moment, a miracle of nanoseconds, he falls to his knees, overcome. A screams, further down the throat of his rival who is feigning indifference and just beats him harder. He crows and laughs and dies on his knees like a good little boy, and when he is dragged to the pit, he rots quicker than the other men, because inside, he was already rotten.

We are sailing toward Barbados. We were sent to scrounge coffee from the scraggly plantations but we were later and they were already dead and their land combed for scraps. If we don't run across a puny ship overloaded, trafficking beans, someone is going to get their head chopped when we arrive. Questions will be brought up::How did you lose all your water in a three-day span?:: And answers will be in short supply by the men responsible. My answer? Good as any. It was a fight. The captain was drunk and picked it because he needed the entertainment. He was sure the harvest would go well and quick and sprayed us down with the hose. It was powerful and the weaker men were sent flipping to aft. A lack of international satellite phones, long range internet routers, a rent social fabric that failed them and their families a thousand years previous, a damn fool animal who thought it necessary to fuck another fool animal a billion years ago. Nobody ever likes my answers; they're too complex, too thought out. Excuses come to me instinctively now, and they're often too well crafted to be useful. The penny pinching of the stylites who ran this immoral operation, that's a big one. But don't catch me speaking that one. I've got a kingdom to conquer.

It is the life of a Cabalier, the shitizens of the sea. Pray for us, dolls, we've more than a few battles between here and the homestead we were promised. If it comes, I'll live like a small country king, flush with a house and womanservants. But between that and the fire in the kitchen, between the rival gang stories and myths of some trans-island logic, we are in'ferit.

Someone get on the horns
We're head for nearest shore
Someone get on the horn
So the harbor won't be surprised
Someone pay attention and get on the horn
Why don't we listen?
Because, he's only the quartermaster.
Does anyone know where the captain
The First mate is?
Where is the used to?
What we were promised before we left?

In the raging storm. The Captain and the First Mate decided to stand on the deck and hit with their fists, to weather the crash of climbing waves by fighting in their midst, breaking a jaw while flying fore-ward in the temporary lake of the C.S.S. C'llatr'll, finest ship sunk today. It was the first mate who believed in possibility and he was spending his mind in the fight begging for a gust to snap the damned mast, to send it flying sharp end up, and for the suddenly immobile ship to stick on its wave, and for the wind trailing the spike to go endovaend back into the chest of his rival. It was over a woman, probably, or a substance abuse problem, or a drunk row over transcendence. Captain screaming it a mythos, the artificial hoop of a progressivism, a pretense to worth. Screaming the loss of the boundary is only the loss of the lie of the boundary and to ordering the Mate to set face forward, with and not against the unholy waul of the sea, sabotageovasubmission. The first Mate countered a fist to the jaw and a wave kicked them to opposite corners, two trillion gallons of referee. Captain was missing an ear but had gained a few teeth, while the mate was in sorry shape, too much focused on the spinning mast and his bashed in nose looked to be dripping out his ears. The lighting broke over a near island and they both hesitated for an explanation of mutiny or murder. Neither paused too long; death tomorrow over today is as good an axiom as any. Mate, who made all his points at the end of his wrist, started taunting. Missing half a tongue, he slurred and stumbled, but the assuredness of his broken-headed mumbling was getting to the captain, who started returning shot for sentence into the between-the-eyes.

They would fight forever, unless I, from my new captain's chair, fired bullets into them and their spectators. That could be my meaning and purpose, to fire bullets at that moment and to become King of the Ship, to lay the failure only on men who floated face down to shore days later, to capture the reward for quelled mutiny and buy me freedom from my initial constraints, with enough left over to build new ones. Damn fool pen, lying to my heart and leaving me shaking and unable. There will be no firing tonight. Only the captain could order such a thing, and I am a lowly quartermaster, a frozen witness transcribing a war they won't let me fight.

four is the last number that I need right now
the least of your problems is four that
seven up there is railroading your ass into
the four the four is easy i knew that numbers
were the mistake i couldn't spare anything
less and i told you that the meeting about
the sevens was going poorly before you got

He hadn't tried. He talked of trying, he plotted the course. There were diagrams with everything in them, some in his shoes and hat and others, the important ones shoved in his sneakers, near the toe so if he was mugged they would survive. They had the right stances, the directions and symbols for any spontaneous move or thought that might stumble in the way and set him upon a mistake. Some were long and elaborate and others were written in pencil. Those had become leaded static and only stuck around in the hope that he might remember, and remember to have a pen on him. He didn't now, but it didn't matter this time.

From where he stood, he saw more of the sea than any man this morning. He got up early, before anyone, so they couldn't steal his spot and see any more. That's why they took to calling it his sea, Ben’s sea, which he knew was a lie. He was the Sea’s ben, the foul property of this queasy bitch. Probably why he disliked them, too, because he knew better than anyone that he couldn't conquer her, not by standing on some ledge and staring, no, he couldn't conquer her.

But today he wasn't standing or staring on the ledge. He was cursing, screaming warnings into the surf. His eyes broke up. His socks were dry. Tomorrow was too late, he might sleep in. Instead, he carefully knotted his shirt and pants around his boots. His feet dug into the dirt, he couldn't slip now, before he could slip and fall, when it was all preparation, but now he was naked and cold in the spray and he let go. His shirt ripped and floated down, but the rest held together and came down in a crash, and he climbed the high ledge, where he stood with his cock to the wind, and where he sang his songs out loud for the first time. He would finish sooner or later, he would feel for the end of his repertoire. He would not panic, but his breath would hold steady for a minute or so, and in the silence, he would go.


Anonymous said...


Anna Nym said...

Ah. You've met John Locke!