VII

THE PIRATES

 

In one dark-night city of disrepute,

where the law was nought more than suggestion,

I stumbled upon a questionable route

to making money evading convention.

 

Wherever settlers had dared put down roots,

they were uprooted swiftly, trodden ‘neath boots

of men who had neither honour nor pride.

With these men I would set my morals aside.

 

I joined them amidst a sea of suspicion,

incumbent upon me as it was to convince them

that I would suit their exclusive assembly,

and prove loyal standing in the face of many

a bullet and blade and furious measure;

while we made our retreat with settlers’ treasure.

 

I, laughing scornfully, chose a novel way

to show them that I was here to stay.

I picked a fight with a wicked man,

and suggested he shoot me to understand

that I would become his worst nightmare:

a man who couldn’t die and wouldn’t dare

back down.

 

He smiled and fired without delay,

this wonderful man whose morals decay

at the sight of the vulnerable, helpless kind.

He was a coward of the lowest mind.

 

High in my chest the jacket burned deep,

ripping a hole through muscle and flesh.

Snapped back by the blow, I collapsed in a heap

of breathlessness and shock; a display which enmeshed

this lost soul of mine in a world of despair.

Tears came to my eyes as I lay there.

 

And so, I initiated, the raids began,

on worlds we left dark which once had light.

My heart it raced each time we ran

into and out of every fight.

 

I avoided the pleasure of violence at first,

sure that in some way it would leave me cursed.

But adrenaline, coursing, had a way of relieving

oneself of one’s senses, to leave one conceiving

of terrible things one would usually shun.

And I laid a man low with the butt of my gun.

 

The blood flowed freely down over his eyes,

and I stepped back from him, more than surprised

that I could inflict this monstrous attack.

It was an evil of mine I could never take back.

 

Dragged away from the sight of my Hell

by men with no morals, who could never tell

just how much I hated myself at that moment.

My conscience was demoted, a defunct component

of a soul lost and floundering in a sea of violence.

But not all were ignorant of my silence.

 

Returned to our ship floating free ‘midst the stars,

the Pirate leader understood my revulsion.

Pouring for us both a measure of spirit,

he turned from me to stare through the bars

on the windows of his quarters with the compulsion

of one screaming ‘Freedom’ when no one could hear it.

 

‘I’m trapped in this life,’ he quietly explained,

sipping his brandy as quietness reigned.

‘I’ve no one to miss me, no place to call home.

Stuck with this motley crew, destined to roam

this hopeless galaxy ‘til last breath I draw.

But you…I knew different the first time I saw.

 

‘You don’t belong with us, no matter your thoughts.

We’re sullied by violence and greed.

I see in your eyes that there’s something you’ve lost

and you’re running from pain with all speed.

 

‘But you can’t get away,’ I was casually told,

‘and there’s nowhere in the Universe that you can go.

No matter the distance in space and time,

pain has a way of lingering and taking hold

of your thoughts and deeds and laying you low.

It punishes you as if you committed a crime,

when the only mistake that you really made

was believing in the plans you so carefully laid.’

 

I nodded and gulped down the fire in my glass,

hating the truth of his words.

But I, thinking scornfully, decided to pass

on his subtle advice; when all I heard

was an invitation to the misery I sought.

I would lose myself in it and be damned, I thought.

All music kindly supplied by Revolution and is subject to copyright protection