Captain Hongo Hawkes: Unfinished Thoughts of Her (Vol. I)

The following is excerpted from the journal of Captain Hongo Hawkes of the "Bonhomme Leroux," a sword boat once docked in Mississippi's ports. Hawkes' had several journals but never dated the journals or the journal entries. I've done my best to extract what I've found and presented them in segments related by a theme and arranged those journal entries in a way that best evolves the theme (such is the case of here with Hawkes writing of an unnamed woman, possibly the same woman for each entry). Some chronology is assumed, as in any entries from the same journal I've assumed that the entry nearest the front was written prior to any following entries.

Hongo Hawkes was born in my hometown of Starkville, Mississippi before moving down along the Gulf Coast, where he presumably lived on his ship, or bandied about town, as he never had a fixed address. After his passing, almost fifteen years ago now, all his known belongings, basically everything that was on his ship, were sent along to his sister who still lives here in Starkville, just down the street from me. She has asked me to help her edit her brother's journals into a more coherent and cohesive narrative of his life. His journals are problematic only insofar as they lack any sense of narrative, should such a thing be important to the reader (it often is). Hawkes' language is rich and exciting and I think readers who tend to drift more towards your standard narrative format in writing will still find pleasure in reading this. I don't always understand what Hawkes is saying but I always do enjoy reading it and reading through his journals has been a special opportunity for me and one that I am grateful for. Hawkes' words are all one's that could have so easily been lost but ended up here in my home. My only hope is that I am able to provide an adequate representation of a man I never knew. A representation that all the lost people of this transient world deserve. We miss or simply forget so many of them. It's nice to have one of those forgotten people leave behind something for the world to get to know him and nicer still when the world stops and takes notice. Thank you for reading.


I can make you see rainbows so I wrote these words for you. You who never gives enough. You who I return from the sea to spend time with. We swam. We sprinted through empty fields. And I left. But only to return and you were no longer there. No longer the person I remembered nor the person I could even see. I could make you see rainbows at one time.

There is no time for love for a sword boat captain. Love only for her, his ship and reverence for the sea. The sea, a substance that looks nothing like a clear substance that could fill a glass of water. Don't you see I could never love you. That the cost would be too great. I must reserve my heart for my ship and my reverence for the things that will kill me.

You I can live without. You void of description. I am your prism and through me you shine for all to see. But I do not need that. The arrogance that assumes you and I are better fit for each other than any other. I will teach you to regret your own birth so run now from the disappointment. Run now before the sea, the ship, she takes me.

Barefoot by the seashore, otherwise fully clothed. You wait for my return. For the "Bonhomme Leroux" to pull into the bay and dock. The take from the trip an equity greater than the love we'll ever share. I hope not to see you there on that day.

Ashore for now in a huddled mass. Spirits, ales. Smoke too thick to see the door or see me watching you from across the room. Sitting lonely. End of the bar. I could end it all right now if I had the courage. But I pour another down my throat. I think you see me now so I spit and I drink and I love. Another one down the hatch so that I may distance myself just that much from the reality of you. You are my glass that fills with water and I hate you.

Cast off! Outward to the sea, to life. The image of you fading in my mind the farther from shore I go. I now understand why I like leaving so much more than returning to port. The clarity will be muddled soon, but at least now I know. I understand that we are doomed. Not just you and I, not the just the lonely, or the unrequited, but any who has ever dared to have the capacity to let another enter their life.

I won't kill you tonight. Or the next. But you will go deep and dark into the void of my mind. When my ship sinks and I fill with saltwater and it is all my body can taste I shall be reminded of you for only a second and that will be the last I ever think of you and for me I will have finally killed you.

Maybe I am wrong and it is you that is the prism that I shine through to be all colors.