“Man overboard !” is the traditional cry for when a sailor or passenger on an ocean-going vessel falls over the side into the sea. The purpose of the cry was to alert the captain and helmsman of the trouble so they could decide what to do. The procedure for this event differs from ship to ship. Nowadays it is always the policy to attempt a rescue, usually by means of a life buoy.

In the past (sailing ships) whether the fallen man would be perused or not depended mostly on the weather. If it was possible to manoever the ship into the correct position immeditatly upon hearing the cry then an attempt would usually be made. In these circumstances it was expected that the entire crew remain silent to enforce discipline. A boat would be carefully lowered into the water, (hopefully without pitching the men out or swamping it), crewed by the men with the sharpest sight, they would then begin the search for the man. Despite some film references they did not ever just dive in with a rope.

How moody is the man in me
who misses you

He buys his smokes
without thanking anyone
And strides under many clouds
dressed in all black
even the socks
And he's callous with the rivers
and the architecture and the mariachi
and the goddamned garish fluidity of this
headache world

And he is stoic as an airport
Fifty thousand accumulated flesh tombs
or more
Pretending about the news and the weather
with their minds drifting always back
to the same thing
How desperate to be so far away in space
but not in time
How desperate is the faith convinced
of two arguments
Both to be and not to be

And he leans against the wall or the pillar
Reading his novel
reviewing the words
He is contained as a spiderweb
Unrealized, an unpopped bag of microwave popcorn
sits on the counter, well out of the sun's reach
Refusing his fate
gazing at his expiration date
Tapping at it impatiently and
refilling his tea and
turning off the radio and
And he sits now, finally
And he remembers you

But me?
I do not

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