By the docks of Shinbone Alley,
Squeaking doors slam.
Click-clack, the clanking canes,
To the stomp of torn leather boot souls.
Scratch and scrape,
The gravel-topped cobblestone.
Old sea dogs rally;
In spoils of young virtuous maidens,
Whom, only crime is innocent splendor.
Tormented stained grey beards on the hard,
Distressed eyes peer and scheme leeward,
Telling redundant tall tales
Of wet dreams, grog and floozies.
For silent screams cry,
With footprints upon the grey and misty breeze,
Under pipes, cloak and cap.
Wobbled knees can’t bare the weight
To stand high seas;
No longer cast hunching shadows,
Put to pasture are these. . .
Baggy panting leg;
Slow to foot,
Tack and sway;
‘Neath these broken knuckles stretch,
In faded tattoos . . .
Gasp and wheeze with every clutch,
Raspy throated; barking checkers
Set adrift . . . these castaways
Above board . . . risk nay to dwell in Davey Jones locker.
Still, no consolation.
Flask, spit and splint carry
The limbless cripple.
Who’ll win the woolen jack,
The pocket watch, the pipe tobac?
Upon his death . . .
Offering to their kinsmen; resound
One last time to hoist;
One last time to weigh anchor;
Bestowing booty of hand-me-down.
To the breathing gall
And rustling clanker.
Spent to dawdle
In their dilly-dally winter of life,
Tarry long – my fellows;
Tarry long – dear mates.
Hauling bags of bones
To the upper meadow;
As fingerprints touch and burn the urge of primal voices
To steer no more,
Where rest awaits.
William Teague © 2012