If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chapter III.4

The Revolutionary Adventures of Sometimes Seaman Slack

I learned a lot of things on the Turner. What follows is a couple of ‘em:

I was sitting back on a gear locker on aft-lookout one sunny afternoon as we steamed through the Adriatic at a leisurely five or so knots, enforcing the no-fly zone. I had only been on board a couple of weeks and was still a “boot” by everyone’s reckoning. There were no contacts on the horizon and I was engaged in every lookout’s favorite pastime, daydreaming— probably about booze and girls, in no particular order.

Several members of Deck division (OD) were busy pulling down an old decrepit locker off the O-2 port boat-deck. The locker was beat to hell and would no longer function as a locker, much less anything else. The guys fought the thing down to deck level and were marching it back to the fantail to toss it over the side, err “float test” it— a nautical test whereby something is tossed over the side and observed to see whether it floats or sinks.

BM1 R. made the first mistake, rather then just chucking the thing over the side, which he should have done, he asks me to call up to the bridge and request permission. Now, anyone who has spent any real time in the Navy knows that the unspoken FIRST RULE, above all others, is, “Never ask permission, always beg forgiveness.” Well, I didn’t know that at the time and I don’t know what BM1 Reid’s excuse was.

So, I call up to the bridge and ask permission to toss this worthless, former self of a locker over the side.

“Aft-lookout, bridge, stand by,” I’m told. You do a lot of that in the Navy, “Stand by to stand by,” being a common term. Those commercials that say that you will get more done in the Navy by 9 a.m. than most people do all day, well, it oughta say that you will get up earlier than everyone in the world and stand by more than everyone else all day by 9 a.m.. Anyway, the word comes back that permission is denied.

It is here that I make the second mistake. Rather than just telling BM1 R. that they can toss the damned thing over the side, I try to explain to the bridge just how busted up this locker is, thinking that I can win them over to my point of view. Now you have to realize that I am not in direct communications with the authorizing authority here, the officer of the deck, rather, I am talking to an OS, one who has fallen into disfavor with his compatriots in CIC who have exiled him to the bridge to maintain the plot there and is now relaying all messages from the lookouts.

This goes on for a while to no avail. The guys, not knowing what else to do, are fixing to return the locker to its place when it hits me, right out of the blue. Oh it was so sublime, so wicked, and yet so perfect, a universal truth, what we needed here was accountability, responsibility goddammit!

I waved wildly at BM1 R. to stand by as I called back up to the bridge, “Bridge, aft-lookout, interrogative, who is the officer of the deck?”

“Mr. Monnaco.”

“Well, tell Mr. Monnaco that his new locker will be in his state room by the time he gets off watch,” god I’m a genius.

“Wait one.” A different way of saying stand by.

“Aft-lookout, bridge…”

“Go ahead…”

“You have permission to jettison the locker.”

I waved the go-ahead to BM1 R. and after about twenty minutes, the locker finally went over the side. For the record, it did not float.


One day, as messenger of the watch in port I had to go down to one of the FFGs moored up behind us, the Carr, the Carney, I don’t remember— all I know is that it was one of those ships that had a skeleton crew of “real” Navy crew on board and the rest were made up of reservists. So I’m waiting for something on their quarterdeck, talking to a couple of the “real” Navy guys on watch on the quarterdeck; seems that they had a dog on board, the ship’s mascot or something. That didn’t go over to well, apparently the thing was always sick, crapped everywhere and you hoped that it wasn’t in one of your P-way. It also tended to climb up ladders and then not be able to get back down. Now don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, they just don’t do well long term on ships.

The other thing that I quickly found out was that the reservists were about fucking worthless. Those guys did not have one nice thing to say about ANY reservist, unless watching TV and complaining were compliments. I tucked this piece of information in the back of my head, and would later seriously ponder on it after a couple of airdale reservists (the worst kind) set the Kennedy on fire by dropping an empty OBA canister (pure O2) into a 55 gallon drum with fuel oil in it. The resulting combination closely resembled Fougasse; only we weren’t some Green Beret firebase defending against charlie coming through the wire. Flaming fuel oil blown all over the hanger deck at 0200 is NOT cool.


I was on watch one night, midwatch I think, on the helm. The OOD called out some course change and I started to repeat it and then stopped, “Orders to the helm?” The OOD repeated his command and I changed course accordingly. BM2 Butch was the Boats of the Watch and came over and told me in quiet tones that I’d heard the OOD right the first and to trust myself; that first hunch/intuition was almost always right. He was right and it is some of the best advice that I ever received and I’m grateful for it to this day, though I sometimes forget and find myself asking life, “orders to the helm?”

The Geese

I hear the geese call
even in my troubled dreams.
Standing out on the back porch
after everyone is gone—
and the fire gallops madly in the fireplace
like the bourbon in my veins—
lighting a clove with my lucky Turner Zippo
I hear the geese, and the intuitive call to be
haunts me so subtly,
so subtly.
And like the cold, crisp crack of a shotgun
my past here takes me in the breast
leaving me bewildered, confused, and wounded—
wondering if I can fly on any longer.
Where am I coming from?
What am I doing here?
Where am I going?
The house stands quietly behind me
a silent witness
to all this turmoil and pain.
I come back and I come back
and how many more times can I do this
before it’s all over?
Before I can move on?
Before it’s done?
Fat, white snowflakes
fall slowly from somber, gray clouds-
a winter wonderland.
I can’t find anyone in the phonebook
that I went to school with and
I’m afraid to look for my own name.
A flock glides silently overhead
looking for a place to spend this cold winter night.
A clear destination, a purpose.
I long so desperately to be with them
it brings a tear to my eye—
earthbound and lost.
I snuff out the clove
and flick it away.
The warmth inside beckoning to me, shivering
the answer must lie somewhere,
somewhere within reach.
And even if it doesn’t,
there’s always the cry of the geese
in my troubled dreams.

Off the Road on the Coast of Columbia

I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac on our second LEO Ops since getting back from the med cruise, where we made sure that the Serbs and Croats didn’t use planes to kill each other, doing it the old-fashioned way instead. Now, mostly we sat around off the coast of Columbia hoping that we didn’t break down and wishing like hell that we were somewhere else. My Divo, Mr. Edwards loaned it to me to read and I finished it in three days— yellowed pages crammed in between watches, usually at the sacrifice of all too little sleep.

The ending kinda surprised me, the cosmic, colossal truth— even as simple, complex and esoteric as a koan— that the book, the beat generation, built up to wasn’t there; only a New York cab speeding away from a forlorn figure walking hunched in the street, kicking at a can perhaps. And yet, somehow it was the right ending for the book which struck me as a sad, mellow, kind of tragedy, like watching the sun set in the rain. Nietzsche said, “God is dead,” and the sun set on Sal, Dean, and old man Moriarity…end of book. No divine light, mind over matter or over god; not even a ubiquitous car chase and fistfight that Hollywood so loves to redeem the heroes and punish the wicked. Nothing, the end, in a very certain, final way.

But it struck me that I knew Dean, in the days before I started sitting off the coast of third-world countries in haze-gray rust buckets for fun, back when I was still in school; only his name wasn’t Dean, it was Bernie. And in a more obscure way, I also knew Sal, but he wasn’t him, he was me.

Bright Eyes

The road before
the road behind—
I made love to her that night…
in the back of a gray Subaru Brat
as the sun slowly fell
below the green tree line.
Her eyes were flat
dreams traded in for an affluent
multi-level house in suburbia
with a doctor for a husband
that she’d never know
and two children cloned in Disneyland.
I hated her for it,
hated the way she looked at me
and saw someone else.
The trees turned a deeper
as the sun disappeared
but her eyes held none of the light.

For Rent

And then one day
Kim grew up, or moved on, or something;
and she no longer came out
for walks in the rain,
ice cream, candles and wine,
or long, hot showers
after salty-sweat, lip-biting nights
of agonizingly delicious sex.
And the part of me she lived in;
the space she had created
in the disorganized, sprawling, chaotic mess of me
was empty—
plants withered and brown
now that there was no one
to water them,
the tiger-striped cat
no longer coming ‘round for leftovers,
and the sun cold and cheerless
through the dirty, smudged windows.
She took me
and put me in a cardboard box—
a pile of letters, trinkets, and photos—
on a shelf in a closet,
Space For Rent.

The Lie

The lie, the betrayal
right there in the
of motion—“forever”—
half hidden with the flourish
of the pen
a little ink spilled
two lives split
ever to meet again?
They say
you can’t go
living in the past
but I do it every day.
The words came so easy then
I didn’t even have to try,
wanted so badly to touch her
just to make her smile.
And, it is not that the words
were so untrue
to speak of—
but how I pettily snatched them up
along with my trust and love
stomping away
leaving her to sift
through the pain, confusion, lonely and hurt
swirling in my wake.

Zen and the Art of Crayons

People are born with two innate items,
a coloring book and a 64 color box of crayons.
Throughout your life your coloring book
will fill up with pictures other people have colored
in you
and you will use your crayons
to color pictures in other people’s books.
Some people color inside the lines
and others are more prone to scribble and wiggle,
some like writing poetry, doodling, chain hearts
and purple grass
and some just write mean things
in angry black strokes.
But the choice
of who colors in your book
is yours
though there is no tragedy in life
greater than an uncolored coloring book
or an unopened box of crayons.
The penultimate experience of being human
is when you have trusted another
to color your life
and when you’ve been trusted
to color another’s.

A Small Piece of Fiction

The leaves crunched under our feet, red-orange and brittle, as we walked hand in hand through the park, our breath steaming up in the chill, crisp, afternoon air— his a large cloud and mine small. I took about four steps or so to his one.

The swings were empty and I picked one on the far let and climbed in it. He began to push me, slowly at first but in widening arcs. I could feel his arms through the chains, solid, strong, reassuring. From the top of the arc I imagined that I could see the whole world and that we would rule it, him and I. He stood back and watched as I slowly swung to a halt, still pumping with my legs, usually at the wrong time. I think he smiled.

When the swing finally creaked to a halt I jumped down and ran over to the slide. He was there waiting for me at the bottom as I slid down. Taking my hand, we walked over to the pond to feed the geese that had lingered late in traveling south.

“Why did grandpa have to die,” I asked, tossing a piece of hard bread into the water? For a moment he stared hard across the pond, off towards Clarendon Hills Dr., and for a moment I wished that I hadn’t of asked. But he looked at me and said slowly,

“When the fall comes, all things must travel south…”

“So he’ll be back in the spring,” excitedly, finishing his sentence? He continued to stare across the pond and then tousled my hair with a smile,

“He already is…he already is.”

I smiled at him, not knowing why, this stranger that I called dad.

Mr. Primetime

You don’t know me
And you don’t see
You only see what you want me to be
A bundle of insanity
Living in your mind
Tripped out on love
Telling you it’s alright
And when will we be free
And maybe then you’ll be me
Living in my head
That’s sleeping in your bed
Dreaming of you
And dreaming of me
You don’t see me
You see what you want to see
I’m just convenient
Standing on this stage
Done up in lights
Tripped out on hate
Trying to kill the blight
Sell some cereal
And wear some jeans
Start the holy war
Load the magazines
What I think
Is what you do
And what I do
Is what you try
And without my talk show
You’d never make it through the night
You don’t know me
And I don’t care
You don’t see me
And I’m not there
When they called your name
You answered mine
And now you’re no one
Without my brand-name line
You don’t know me, you don’t see
You don’t even know
Who you’re supposed to be

Generation X pt. 2

Drums in the city,
sirens in the night,
and I sit caught in the blue light.
Guilty as promised,
guilty as found,
there’s so many ways they can drag you down.
There’s a tension in the air
a dis-ease in the ground
and through it all the tyger stripes are wound—
binding the wounds
that drips dark blood
binding the wounds
pooling in the dirty brown mud.
Razor the soul
cut the life
only left-brained rats and mice.
Don’t believe what you hear
don’t believe what you see
reality is controlled by the enemy.
Kill a generation
if you dare
electrocuted in the TV chair.
The time for vengeance
the time to attack
the sky is red and the sea is black.
Back to the jungle
back to the night
with tyger stripes black, we will fight
when degenerations dreams
into nightmares turn
and the innocence in orange flames burn
this unasked for war
we will win
retro-bution fore-fathers sins.
Tyger, tyger crouched in the night
damn the sirens
and don’t fear the light.
Guilty as promised,
guilty as found
don’t let the bastards drag you down.
With stripes of black
and eyes burning bright
we will claim the coming dawn—
our birthright.

Lost in America Looking for Intelligent Conversation

A mad, crazy SAT afternoon. Riding in the Boozer Cruiser to Citadel Mall to catch a flick— an elderly black lady waiting for the bus, some guy riding his bike down the street, people shopping for plants, and the trees and telephone poles whizzing by as Alice in Chains wails on the radio. It all smacks of a John Cougar video— little and pink houses or some crap like that— the everyday life, patriotism of heartland America in black and white.

It only reminds me that I don’t feel like I belong— lost in America, lost in the Universe, lost in myself…a hole somewhere in my soul that can’t be filled (or found). I long to lose myself in the arms of somebody who knows, who understands.

The gray superstructures, radar masts, and antennas rise against a red-orange setting sky as a bone-bleached full moon rises over Northwoods shopping mall, a modern day ziggurat, the great pyramid, the sarcophagus of a modern, decadent society raised on Capt. Kangaroo, the Cold War, Kentucky Bourbon, and unlimited credit. Chris says the revolution must come, and to me, his words ring empty and hollow. I say it won’t be a revolution but death— a rite of passage— to come. Tim says that if you keep shooting on goal, even the best goalie lets one by from time to time. So all we’ve got is effort and luck. I think Tim is the Buddha, but more…and less. Tim says he’s just Tim and that most the time he wishes he was sure.

I’m sitting in King Street Station trying to hide form the emptiness, drown it in booze and a crowd. But the place is dead for a SAT night; at least the band rocks. Madness all around I say: nobody tries to understand the road underneath the wheels, they just choke up and ride all the harder.

Jimi, Jim, Sid, Syd, and Cobain (what fucking idiots seriously compared Nirvana to the Sex Pistols? As if…) all lost the edge— if you’re going to love you have to hate and if you’re going to live you have to die.

I’d sit out on the beach on Isle of Palms and stare out at the sea, reporting contacts like I was underway— “two white lights and a red one on the horizon, relative bearing too-sevn-fife, left bearing, target angle one-niner-zero, outbound.,” and so on, could do it for hours, listening to the sound of the waves on the beach, sipping my drink. The sea is a harsh and loving mistress, to be cliché, stormy; and once you sleep with her you’ll never forget her, always hear her whisper in your ear.

And as I sit here scribbling madly away I feel the ache of emptiness as well as the laughter of absurdity— where do you draw the line, how do you draw the line, and why even bother?

Division Bell

The division bell
is ringing
in the spaces in between
and all must answer up
or be left behind
The times are changing
a new day yawning
and what dreams lie there within
as we wake up stretching
from the dreams of yesterday?

Cruel, Cruel Summer

Trapped in this cage of mine-d
and I wonder
who will set me free?
grows lean and hungry
longing for the smell
of free determination and will.
Caged I may be
by a 4000 mile gravity well
but a prisoner
they’ll not make me still.

It Was On the News

True wisdom—in a grain of salt
the way—expounded daily by Bugs Bunny
and I once saw
the mysteries of the Universe
in a tennis shoe commercial.
The door—
a microdot in eighths
or anyway you like.
The slithy toves in the wabbe
do not play dice with the Universe
And Danny must see the ball
be the ball—the future—
to use The Force.
We killed like champions
so kiss a little longer
‘cause-ality god is dead
and Schrödinger’s rat
surfed the probability waves
escaping the tötung box
through the strange loop in the paradox.
Collapse the wave
anyway you like
but remember,
it’s all in your head
and true wisdom,
true knowledge
is knowing that
you know less
than most people think
they do.


And you want to write for them,
seek approval in their eyes
and yet,
you write only for themselves
an idiot
thinking a smile
for friendship
and understanding
but who can
but those who’ve walked the way?
When ignorance reigns king
you walk the shadows—
beware of bitches
with Betty Crocker wisdom!


Drinking in my car
with my Roman Polanski sunglasses
we all go to Chinatown sometimes.

Insert Your Name Here

A cat is a cat is a cat, whatever that might actually be (and for the sake of argument, we’ll call it a cat and assume it is the same).

Cats in general, at least as far as I’m aware, do not worry about being cats or crossing the line and being dogs. They just are, they do what cats do…and sleep a lot.

A insert your name here is an insert your name here is an insert your name here (as far as I know). But insert your name here worries about not being a insert your name here, or better yet, not do-ing an insert your name here. And, if the facts were just plainly stated, a lot of the time insert your name here isn’t even sure what a insert your name here is or does. It sounds preposterous, I know; frustrating, fucking frustrating. I know of no dilemma that has the potential to cause greater suffering or produce a higher truth or beauty.


Low-hanging, gray clouds
over an endless green expanse
of sad—
was my Trail of Tears.

The Perfect Day

Woke up late, just in time for the end of brunch— a scrambled egg and cheese sandwich on toasted white, no wheat left.

Finished reading Gun with Occasional Music and rolled out of my rack around 1400. It was bright outside, terribly so and my Raybans were in the Jeep, a good five-hundred feet away. Somehow I made it.

It was the most perfect February day you could ask for. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky, low to mid 70’s with a slight breeze. Perfect. The whole goddamned world was perfect: people picnicking in the park, walking, rolling, skating, biking down the Battery and Market Street; hell, you couldn’t even find a parking place. Ski boats, powerboats, fishing boats, sail boats, even the seagulls seemed to realize the perfectness of the day as they wheeled and dipped over the blue swells. A perfect day in Charleston.

The thing that hurt my head worse than the sun was that it was a perfect day, a perfect day and I had nothing more to do than drink, nowhere to be, nowhere to go, no one waiting patiently for me at some outside table on Market Street with a slowly warming gin and tonic. A whole world on a perfect day and it was as empty as my agenda.

I’ve spent so much time alone in my world that when things slow down an uneasy calm-quiet blankets everything, a certain unbearable hollowness and suddenly everything seems lonely and empty with everybody having some meaning, some purpose, some reason except for me.

I felt strangely out of place, like everything had shifted two inches to the left, or maybe the right, doesn’t really matter; only that everyone else made the jump but me. I never seem to get the memo.

Parked along the Ashley River on the Battery, drinking bourbon out of a McDonald’s cup, listening to Jimmy Buffet and scribbling away here in my journal…how did I get to be so lonely…on this perfect day?

Sunset—the Battery

Cool Blue
burning Orange
cloaked by angel clouds
of White—
the sun slowly sank
beneath the
Green Palmetto fronds
wading in the muddy Brown
Ashley River.


Storm clouds above my head
Thunder and lightning
Evil spirits and bad ju-ju’s
The mighty machine
Screeches to a halt—
Brain lock—
Somewhere the idea
The thought, the kernel
Got lost in the words
And I find myself again
Talking in circles
That even I hardly
the way that can be told
is not the way…
he who talks
doesn’t know
he who knows
doesn’t talk
The frustration makes me nuts
I am not Jesus
I am not Buddha
Let them save themselves
If so inclined
But how to convey
A full pearl moon
On a bed of clouds
Love that not even
Death can deny?
I am at a loss for words.


I been smart
to assemble
around me
the pieces, cast, and scenery
of my own, personal
See me
revel in
my misery.


My eyes scare me.
They have that
hard, haunted look,
so haunted.
I don’t think
that others can see it,
I can fool them;
But I can’t fool myself.
I see.
I know.

The Old Man States the Obvious

Not long before the Turner was decommissioned, the CNO, Admiral Boorda, visited the ship to acknowledge the work she had done as the test platform for the LEAP program.

I should probably say a quick word about Admiral Boorda. He joined the Navy as an enlisted E1d, the lowest rank possible, and rose through the ranks to eventually be the highest-ranking officer in the Navy. He was a sailor’s sailor and the enlisted never had a better friend. In a world that had largely become political, he never lost sight of his sailors and they were always his first and last concern. He was the kind of officer you would follow into hell in a leaky rowboat with a squirt gun filled with gasoline. To this day, I refuse to believe that he committed suicide but was murdered in some bizarre and twisted plot.

We had spent a week doing what we did best, painting, (and complaining) in preparation for his arrival. On the day of the show, the crew was lined up in formation all around the damn ship and Adm. Boorda met, said a few words to, and shook every man’s hand that was present. He wanted to thank us, a bunch of drunk no-bodies with generally poor attitudes. Just amazing. For a little bit we all felt like we really mattered and walked around standing a little taller.

Anyway, I was back on the fantail and BM3 Yu Li was standing to my left. BM3 Li was a Chinese national and was in the US Navy through some exchange program. I could tell you a few funny stories about old Li, who had the rack across from mine, but that will have to come at a later time.

The Captain and Adm. Boorda step in front of me and the captain introduced me. I had banged up my hand earlier trying to pry off the covers for the flight deck lights to pain them and had it bandaged. Adm. Boorda asked about my hand and how I was doing, asking me to be careful and take care of myself. I saluted and then they were stepping to the left, in front of BM3 Li. The Captain pipes up,

“This is BM3 Li.” And then helpfully, “He’s Chinese.”

Not a second passed as Adm. Boorda snapped back,

“I can fucking see that!” The captain said nothing.

I have no clue what Adm. Boorda then said to Li after that as I was doing my goddamndest to not double over and piss myself laughing for about the next five minutes. I’m pretty certain that a few of the junior officers with the group snickered.

They just don’t make them like that anymore.

Eulogy for the USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-20)

The wind whipped the clouds low and ragged beneath the full silverfish moon. Hurricane Gordon slowly spun to the east of Charleston, emptying the base of all but the most resolute. And even the Sports Bar is quiet tonight, the cage closed where they usually carefully check IDs, along with Puzzle’s— the country western half of the place. Things are starting to wind down on base. You can feel it, like a giant beast slowly dying, gasping, tax money slowly seeping out the gates and pooling in the muddy Cooper River.

Lisa-Lisa is still pouring drinks behind the brown Formica bar top but Bennett, Lloyd, and Greggory— the greats— are all gone and the NHL is still on strike. Maybe you really can’t go back to yesterday.

And all that this can portend is that the mighty mighty Turner is slowly dying also; wallowing in the blue-gray swells as the black rain runs down her haze-gray flanks. And one by one, we will slowly disappear into the cold December steam; smiles, tears, and goodbyes slowly fading away into the melancholic cries of the gulls. They were here before. They will be here after. They know the ways and means of strange friendships. They will look after her.

We all came together under auspicious conditions and we will leave a little more for it— Patriot, Hero, Drunk, Villain, Average Guy: the quintessential Breakfast Club. Don’t you forget about me.


And one by one they’ve slipped away: down the pier, through the gates, and outta my memory like dreams fading with the sun. Sometimes you don’t even notice that they are gone until you see someone who looks like them and realize that they are no longer around— 400 plus bled down to under a hundred. The Turner is slowly dying, disappearing into the afterlife of memory…nightmares for some.

And somehow, it’s ironic, fitting maybe, that one pier over, Zulu, DDG 60 is being commissioned for the first time, born— having cruised down to Charleston for that very purpose. A transfusion of life, memories, knowledge, heroes, and heartache from the old to the new—

Good times and riches and son of a bitches I’ve seen more than I can recall…”

And they’ll never truly be gone as long as someone remembers. I see them sometimes, in the mirror behind the bar, drinking with me. And magically, we’re back in Alicante— lost and drunk as hell, trying to remember where we parked our ship, or France, Italy, Cuba, Puerto Rico— the crazy, sultry nights run together like a rum-colored montage.

Sometimes, I feel like a ghost myself. A memory written in someone else’s mind with the unforgettable ink of shared booze and tears— “son of a son of a sailor…”


The names have been named
the players played
the scenes seen
and the last lines
yelled at the top of your lungs.
Strange times brought us
and stranger still pull
us apart.
So one last round
to the crazy madness
of it all
before the stage lights dim
and the last curtains fall.

It’s a love/hate thing, like an addiction. You can’t wait, you pray to get off the ship, but you don’t realize until you do, how much you miss it, need it, love it. And when you’re off, you can never go back.


It was the first place where I left a part of myself behind. Not because it had been torn from me by unfinished business, but because I loved the place and cared terribly about it…a part of me would always be there to watch over it and keep it company.

Picture taken 1825 Romeo 01JUN95, right before I drove off pier Mike and out the main gate for the last time. Headed up to Dam Neck, VA, NMITC, and IS A-school.


Should my darkness prevail
and I could no longer see
would you come
come over the mountains
over the Sea
to my side to rescue me?
And if I should build a castle keep
with walls of rock, hard and steep
would you rain like a river
and swell like the Sea
over my walls
to drown in me?
Or if I should fall
from grace of God
lose my way and stumble long
into a desert of Death
a desert of lies
would you give it all
to be by my side?
If I should forget
would you still believe
remember the way
it used to be;
cry like the rain
howl like a storm
come over the mountains
over the Sea
to touch me once more
and rescue me?

Final Gift and then Rest

They sank the Turner off the coast of Puerto Rico in early August of 1998. The Navy conducted several studies by detonating explosives similar in nature to enemy ASCMs on and within the hull which will allow them to improve on the defensive designs of new ships. It also gave sailors and pilots of the USS Enterprise Battle Group valuable live-fire experience. The Turner’s last gift in dying was to provide information and training that will protect and save the lives of sailors in the future. True devotion.

It still brings tears to my eyes. It’s hard to explain a love for a thing. But in reality, for anyone who has lived on a ship, trusted your life to it, it is not a thing and in fact is more real, more immediate than many people you will meet.

Fair winds and following seas…

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