Entries by Jess Dennis

The Luxury of Ideal

Before my father died, I was never in trouble with the law. Daddy prevented me from making early mistakes large enough to follow me through life. The shortcomings he saw in himself, he determined to eradicate in me. His bad temper for one. So that any sign of anger, let alone rage, was a near […]

Warm Current

Cruising on a sailboat is like taking care of young children: if you want to enjoy yourself, you learn to put away your own designs and ideas, adapt to conditions as they unfold, otherwise your patience is tested beyond the breaking point sooner or later. Rarely, but sometimes, you can damage a relationship for life, […]

Everywhere

On my way out of Key West, I stopped and picked up a few groceries. It took a while to decide what to buy. So many small decisions had to be arrived at on dry land. There were complexities here that did not intrude when I sailed alone in deepwater. Out on the ocean, life was supercharged with simplicity […]

Mirage

I navigated for Key West. Arriving in sight of Mallory Square, I saw several thousand people lining the bulkhead where the cruise ships normally docked. There was some kind of festival event going on. In the channel off Mallory Square, the ocean-going speedboats were running upwards of a hundred miles an hour, their drive gear […]

Go Home and Build Your House

Soon as darkness fell, I had a craving to sleep. The day had gone by without a nap, and I was feeling the weight. The wind had quit, the ocean was flat calm, and I was running the engine at full power, motoring behind the Dry Tortugas, headed in for Key West. Just at nightfall, […]

God on the Wide Open Ocean

The night of the third day I slept. I meant to be up again in fifteen minutes, but hours elapsed. The deep sleep ended suddenly. I woke up to a silent boat. No sound of the ocean. No movement, as if Mysterion had settled on a rock. The silence and the stillness startled me. I […]

Overboard

The third day. Dead tired, no sleep, dehydrated, seasick, feeling sorry for myself, hating the boat, fearing the mindless ocean. One wrong move, and I could wind up overboard. The boat would sail on with the automatic pilot engaged, and I would be dragged by the life harness—like shark bait—not unlike a husband tethered to […]

Sailor Knots

The sun came out like a newborn baby, I was that elated to see it. The night had been pregnant with a new day. The sky was transformed, growing pale blue as a bubble, inside which the wind increased as the cold air warmed. Atop the deepwater swell running south, the surface of the ocean […]

FOURTH OF JULY—An American Garden of Fire

Gunpowder flowers bloom after dark, Flaming roses, black-eyed susan’s of yellow sparks, white lightning orchids, blue hydrangeas of flame, GUNPOWDER FLOWERS ABLAZE  Star spangled marathon of ornamental explosions, GUNPOWDER FLOWERS BLOOMING FOR HOURS OH SAY CAN YOU SEE BY THE BUTANE FLAME OF YOUR CIGARET LIGHTER THE FUSE OF A GUNPOWDER FLOWER? LIGHT IT AND […]