A Sailor's Lament

01 Jan 2001

The jailer had too much to drink he was fast asleep by ten
I stole his keys and let myself out of the holding pen
Set out across the mountains, heading for the nearest port
I knew it wouldn’t be long until they filed a Missing Person’s Report

I stowed away on a schooner headed out at dawn
To match wits with the future and beat it with my brawn
We were somewhere near the Azores when a storm came up fast
Blew our sails to shreds and broke off both our masts

They found me in the cargo hold, pulled me out and sat me down
I pulled out my flask of gin and passed it around
Then someone said, “Hey I know you, I’ve seen your face before
Oh yeah, it was on that poster on the wall at the General Store.”

I made like I had to leave, but they said I had to stay
The ship began to founder, we all began to pray
They said they had to lose some weight or the ship would surely sink
So they threw me and my sins overboard into the drink

I was never much of a swimmer, but I paddled around
‘Till I heard the captain shouting, “My God, we’re all going down!”
And through the waves I saw the ship dive into the deep
The sea sucked me in it’s gaping grin where many fell asleep

And as the waves rolled over me the sky above was dark
I screamed, “Don’t call me Ishmael, don’t call me Joan of Arc
Don’t call me a survivor, don’t wish you’d died instead
And far above all else, don’t you dare call me dead”