On re-reading Moby Dick, seven parts

Re-reading Moby Dick - prelude

Watching college track and field -
Muscle memories of the back stretch
Of the final lap of the mile run
Still haunt me:

The stomach cramps that felt
like mini heart attacks, each
blood cell screaming for more oxygen
As you round the bend -

The final sprint as you die.

And resurrection as you
cross the finish line.


Re-reading Moby Dick, Pt. 1

Reading a bit of Moby Dick
Each night is my newest meditation -
A chapter or two, and a big chunk
On the weekends helps me sleep better.

Its just a myth, you know,
That ties us, that ties me
To the joys and fears of being
At sea, of journeying to reach a goal.

Re-reading Moby Dick, Pt. 2

But back to the White Whale.
There is a bit of Ishmael in my soul -
Along with bits of Queequeg and Ahab -
Moving around, seeking expression.

It's a nightly meditation that forms dreams -
Dreams that reveals new possibilities,
Alternate realities, perhaps,
Challenges for the spirit-me.

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 3

We track the white whale, we chase
The white ghost at night. Elusive,
He dominates our dreams as well
As our waking hours.

Well, three parts might be enough.
See the other two to connect the dots.
It's more a myth of getting old
Than it is of coming of age.

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 4

A handful of postcards in a metal box
And four shirts are all that remain
From a Hawaii vacation
We took over ten years ago.

We vowed never to go there again -
Everything was so commercial,
So geared to selling us stuff.

But it was all math and geometry,
You see. Eight hours to the west,
Together, alone, was what we needed
After 8 hours to the east, apart.

A reset of sorts, and a therapy,
Perhaps. The good outweighed the bad.

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 5

The whiteness of the whale
Became a thing to be feared,
Loathed, a foci of hatred
And terror, and longing.
Old Ahab infected his whole crew
With the disease, the fear & hatred
Of the white thing. His desire
For revenge became their desire,
Though unfounded. Once the bridge
To reality was burned, all left
Was the need to kill the white thing,
To obliterate it, leaving absolutely
Nothing in its wake. Or theirs.

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 6

Between engineering watches
I would hangout at the Navigation station,
Learning how to plot points and lay tracks.
Except we weren’t hunting for whales -
We were tracking submarines
Of our alleged foes. The same thing,
Perhaps. Learning about the world.
At work I’m building an IR theory
Model, based on archived sources,
To test how we understand world events.
Still chasing that white whale,
Still tracking enemy submarines.
My life is a strange series
of inter-nested do-loops.

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 7

Life is so short and we all must taste death.
A neighbor from my village joined the path
To seek the world of our ancestors.
I wish him a safe and trouble free journey.
A destiny we share. Old Ahab planned
a journey. With stacks and rolls of yellowed charts
He plotted a rendez-vous course
To the feeding ground of the great white whale,
Moby Dick. Little did he know he’d be
The captive prey. Intense hatred causes that type
Of confusion, misplaced priorities.
And Ishmael was the only survivor of the crew.

Re-reading Moby Dick - afterword

I’ve dodged some bullets
in this life. Cigarettes
won’t take me out,
nor alcohol or drugs
though I may get run over
by a car in the crosswalks
in this town. And there’s poison
all around, in the food,
in the water and air
that might just be the cause
of my demise eventually.
But it won’t be sudden death
or overtime. No, this game
will end in regulation time.