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Shipping Out


    Everything is packed.  Tomorrow I will begin waiting in the San Francisco National Maritime Union hall.  Shipping out is something I've thought of doing for a long time, and I'm glad I'll be doing it.  I feel none of the heart-breaking conflict in this decision to “go” as I've felt in other decisions to go away.  Previous decisions—such as to go to Boulder on two separate occasions—made me feel torn between what I'd be losing and what I'd be gaining.  It was torture to sacrifice anything at all.  I feared losing the friends I had—or when I didn't fear losing their friendship due to the separation in Time and Geography I had to work not to fear.  Tonight I am in no quandary, but looking towards the beam of sunlight on the horizon where the sea and the sky meet.

    Sailing is something I must do, it is a service to myself.  To float like a cork to every part of the sky, to be separate from Fixity, to give up the earth mother, to trust chances where my true destiny leads.  Before I can know of the earth's truths I must be able to be independent of the earth and of land itself.  When the time comes to devote myself to my serious work, the terrain underfoot will appear as an offering, a gift, and not a limitation.

    Heaven help the poor soul who has to room with me.

    I accept the changes I will go through.

    I accept death if it sucks me over the railing.

    They make good money on ships.  You get a lot of reading done.



14 December 77



[Originally published in NHS 2011, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs11/.]