Thursday, March 19, 2009


At Sea

Fire up that lamp, boy.
Good. Now look out the porthole and tell me what you see.
See, sir? It’s night. I see nothin but water.
You see water. Yes, boy. But tell me. How’s the water? How does she feel?
She . . . she feels calm, quiet.
She lulls us now, don’t she? But will she stay that way forever?
I dare think not, sir.
What’ll happen then, pray tell?
Soon enough will come a storm.
And she’ll get angry?
Aye, I think so, sir.
You know, son. Why though?
Why, sir?
Don’t think! Answer.
She’ll get angry because she has to.
Good. But why?
To sooth her soul.
Does the sea have a soul?
I think it does.
Then it does. Tell me, must all souls rage?
Aye, sir. I figure some nights they must.
Why must they?
I don’t know, sir.
Fear, sir?
Fear of Death.
You think the sea is afraid of dyin?
No sir.
Why then does she rage so?
I don’t know, sir.
But you must.
To settle my fear.
Are you afraid of the sea, sir?
Yes, boy. I fear it, I love it.
And it would help you, to know why?
Just tonight. I need an answer tonight.
But sir, what if I don’t have one? What then?
Imagine one. Please.
You want a fable.
A story, yes.
Shall I put out the lamp first?


  1. Anonymous1:02 p.m.

    Who's the man? Why does he fear the sea and love her so? Mysterious. Did you write it? What happens in the dark of night -- what fable/story is the boy going to tell?

    I like the last line -- "Do". It makes me want to write something which ends with "Don't".

  2. It is as much a mystery to me as you. This piece came whole, an entire gift. You ever have that? If it happens to me once a year I'm lucky. A whole slew of words come whole. I have a grand total of about three poems in my body of writing, and all three came like this one. Where most of the time, you write and write and toss and toos and it's like mining through dirt. It's only every few years, really, that you hit something. I dare not say gold. Don't. I won't. But something.

  3. Anonymous5:09 p.m.

    Now I am determined to write a poem that ends with "Don't".

    I hope one day a poem will come to me "whole" too. Poems often come to me, but only in parts. I like "wholeness".

  4. It's exactly the other way for me. Stories come to me in bits and pieces. I have fragments dating back for years that I still haven't figured out how to finish.

  5. Anonymous5:24 p.m.

    Of course! How could stories come to you "whole"? We are talking about "real" stories not short-shorts, right? It is hard to imagine 1000-5000 words come to you in a full package.

  6. lol. good point. but i do hear of some great short story writers who can push out first drafts in a couple days. that's rare for me. though i've been so novel obsessed (to finish the first draft, that is) i haven't written a new short story in a long time. want to send something to cha one of these days too, if you are interested.

  7. Anonymous5:32 p.m.

    Please do send us some new works for consideration! We enjoyed "A Friday in Japan" very much. Also, we *love* returning writers/artists -- we want to have a cha community!

  8. Anonymous5:33 p.m.

    I like this: "Tell me, must all souls rage? / Aye, sir. I figure some nights they must."


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