Posted on September 1, 2015September 1, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair9.1.2015 Journal Prompt Photo by Henri Carteir-Bresson September 1, 2015: In the shadows… Like this:Like Loading... Related
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The men come in off the ships. After they has docked and the catch has been landed and the air is all shriek and shout and song, and smellin of the sea, smellin of salt and sting and sharp. And they come in out of the mornin, those men off the boats, and it don’t matter if the mornin is grey or bright, and they’re walkin like they is still walkin on water, which is to say walkin heavy and rollin. And all their words is spat or spindrift-flung and all in the rhythm of the sea, and they say they is tired to their bones, stupid tired, and they call for beer in tall glasses, tall as shipmasts, or whisky they call for, in three fingers. And girls are shook sudden from their beds and pulled into tight dresses and made to look prettier than they are, for there’s money to be made on such mornins.
And they is all of ‘em the same, those men off the boats. Been away for almost a week and sleepin in a sea-rockin bed and their hands fast on their cocks and thinkin of their wives or their girlfriends. Yet they come into the Dockyard Bar first and they look for pretty and kisses tasting of strawberry gloss and girls that don’t give their real names but call themselves something fancy instead. And they pay double for the drinks they buy and they don’t ever know or care that they do. And Penny or Poesy or Prune kisses ‘em into the new day, and the girls laughing like running water, and whispering kisses into the men’s ears, and more than kisses they whisper so the men feel like returning gods, and they go upstairs to be nearer to heaven, and the beds up those stairs rockin but rockin different to sea-rockin.
And after, years after, when the men is near to old and they has lost their sea legs and they aint now no good to no one, then they come again into the Dockyard Bar and they call for beer or whisky like they did all those years back. And they sit at tables starin into their glasses, and they look lost and lonely and limp. And what they see in their glasses can only be imagined – the sea flat and still with the sun layin down on its surface, still like in a old photograph; or the lace of a girl call Misty and, petticoat lace, and behind the lace the gold swell of her breast or the dip between her legs; or kisses they see, kisses that are wet and salted, a hundred thousand of ‘em. And they lift the glass to their lips and kiss again and again, till they is stupid drunk and the world about them tips and tilts and they remember what it was to be at sea again and to be young and needed and like a god once more. And remembering they are lifted up and at the same time dashed, like a wave that crests and then sudden falls; and broken in two they are, or more than two. And their words when they catch ‘em are all spilled and poolin at their feet like water dripping from an empty net.
And the girls they once kissed, Penny and Poesy and Prune, and fucked besides, and loved to the stars and back again, ‘em girls sleep still in their beds and they dream of ships returning and new gods to woo and their purses open and waiting to be filled to overflowing with silver or gold.