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Time on Water by Robert Gibbons




Seaman's Identity Card


While staring wistfully toward the outer harbor, the islands, & beyond (toward Portugal & Spain) on the fast catamaran, sea spray, salt in the nose, local lobster boats dwarfed by distance, the Nora Vittoria suddenly slows to a crawl. I turn away toward port side where three stockbrokers, raving about an earlier 250 point surge in the market, hush up, in awe of Rita the tramp tanker with her Panama registry, her hull like a tight black dress, smoking, the whore, taking on all-comers: Maersk, Hanjin, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd. A Boston tug escorting her out like a thug pimp: $1,000 for change of structure; $1,000 for change of name; $1,000 for change in ownership; $300 for damage, $50 for extension or renewal. Visceral sadness evident in the brokers as the lady ambles slowly out of the harbor toward ports unknown. Sense a lack of freedom. After all, none owns a Seaman's Identity Card needed to board her, requiring medical certificate valid during the past two years, documentation of previous experience, & three passport photos in color. Wasn't it Freud who equated the desire for travel with desire to explore the body of a woman?


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