Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ressentiment & the Barb

This is the uncertainty of standing on a collection of frail planks cast upon water that is shifting with all the gravity of the world. And out there—fan-tailing as He always does—is someone else’s malice and hatred.

How am I to judge that? With a sharpened rod of iron? And what if I stick Him and He runs and runs forever. How many times have you been dragged out into the middle of nowhere by someone else’s Big Idea? One thing I’ll say for the angry one-legged old bastard in the stern: his provender is Spanish gold and a good metaphor.

I wonder if there are any crews out there I cannot see.

"Aye, at night you see ‘em" said the old Manxman. "When He gets tired, He lets the skeletons row him through the darkness. Just like we serve our captain." The water's calm for them and you can hear the regular clickety-clack of their bones crackle popping and the oarlocks screaking. Listen carefully enough and you’ll hear the crisp slips of the blades into the water.

But it's broad daylight now and we chase through chop and catch crabs with every other pull of the oars. I don’t want to get any closer. Time moves in waves upon the water where there are no straight lines. I see us pulled down in a whirlpool of circular reasoning and memory.
Laying in a puddle of blood and piss with your broken bone leg gouging at your balls in the darkness where the earth doesn’t drink you down in love like the ocean. You are unmanned and disclosed to everyone on that damned Island. No wonder you long for the hearse.
I understand. How much of my own face is reflected in the water so red that the sharks are biting at every stroke. We all heard you, old man. Most listened. Most dreamed. Most lusted. The first mate and I thought about it, felt about it a while. Our sin was saying to ourselves… “what else can we do?”

There, He’s going down again. I’ll sit down and break my back for a while at the oar and hope He comes from below and crushes us out of this consummative wet nightmare of yours.


  1. Looks like we're nearing the end of our summer cruise on the Pequod.

  2. Ressentiment is, (btw) a concept that Kierkegaard and Nietzsche worked on and others developed. It's a special kind of resentment at that which not only makes you feel shameful and inferior, but engenders an entire morality. It comes in many different flavors: "to each his own."