25 June 2016

The Quest for the Extant Sextant By Richard Grimes Honglebury


This poem is dedicated to me.  Because I fuckin' wrote it.
--RGH


T’was a day like any other
I was seeking to discover
The best route to another
Well-reviewed new sushi place in town

Sitting at my kitchen table
I found myself unable
By any means available
To nail its precise location down

The address was badly written
The directions not much help
The review gave not the slightest clue
Of little use was Yelp

To find this place required more
Than map or GPS
I would need that tool of ancient yore
A tried and true compass

For with north well-established
And stars to guide the way
I could reach The Sushi Booth
Drink sake there today

(And Barb had good things to say,
Praising both miso and edamame.)

Then suddenly a thought took hold,
A spell so bold
That no spellcheck could check it

Before my mind a dream so hip
Of seamanship
That no shipwreck could wreck it

Why blimey me: I'll use my sextant!
That is, of course, if it's still extant
Instinctively I lurched for my sextant
My breathing sharp, my heart expectant
As I wondered if my sextant
Could fair and truly still be extant…


[Interlude.  Five minutes or so.  Long enough to eat a hot dog, for someone who eats pretty fast.]


Longitude and latitude
More than merely attitude
Are the finest means that we possess
For charting our location
Old-school navigation
Is second to nothing but the best

As a child my grandpa showed me
How to read a chart
And bequeathed to me his sextant
Taught me the fine art
Of marking the horizon
In weather clear or hazy
And how to sight Polaris –
But with the birth of Daisy
And the rise of GPS
I had gotten lazy –
My life so busy, crazy –
Then came little Tess

And the den became her moorage
My toys were packed away
Moved upstairs to storage
Where they might still be today
Had I not been moved to forage
And bring to light of day
My compass and my sextant
With which to chart the way
And put sushi back in play
(Not to mention, edamame.)

So I bounded up the stairs
In a state of expectancy
I could not wait
To relocate
My sextancy

As I rooted 'round my attic
Like an out-of-water haddock
Gasping for a straw
I sensed the slightest movement
A palpable improvement
The frost before the thaw

Combing through the haystack
Of outdated technology
Random crap from Radio Shack
Eight tracks, astrology

I sought in vain my compass
Behind a stack of old SIs
(Bump City Bumphus,
Earl Campbell’s thighs)

Until at last I was ecstatic
To discover
Underneath my tripod cover
By the light of a whale-oil lantern
The object for which I’d been hank'rin

Tis my sextant!  Glory be!
You are extant!  We are we!

I'll never be lost without you
Never store you in steerage again
Never a time will I doubt you
You will always be with me my friend

For you are extant, dear my sextant
I am down upon my knees
A quick spritz of this disinfectant –
My extant sextant, if you please!

You and I shall ne'er be parted
Ere we cross the seven seas
And through narrow straits uncharted
Pass with easy peas.


Epilogue. He finds the sushi place and it’s pretty good, a bit overpriced but what do you expect, and he had a great time, largely attributable to the sake, which his friends paid for … oh and the edamame he could take or leave, he’d never understood what people saw in that. The end.