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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Steam World

In memory of the seven men killed in the after fire room explosion in USS Basilone (DD-824) on 5 February 1973

We live in holes,
Each one named,
Bravo One,
Bravo Two,
Bravo Three,
Bravo Four.
There are others,
But none are MAIN,
The rest are AUX.

We work at pressure,
Six hundred pounds,
Eight hundred plus
Degrees,
That's Fahrenheit,
Folks.
People like
To visit
Our world.
Makes them,
Feel special,
They see a world,
They don't dare
Live in,
And they leave,
Before they
Sweat too much.
Come again,
But not too often,
Have a salt tablet.

We're the only sailors,
Who must
Use our gear,
Twenty-four hours
A day.
Try letting the fires
Go out,
In the
Boiler.
See what
Happens.
The girls
Topside,
Would miss their
Movie.
They'd
Be agitated.
Did we use that
Word?
Well,
Have a salt tablet.

We say that,
Down here is where
The real men live,
That all the rest
Are pussies.
It's a lie,
But,
It hides how hard
Life is,
In the
Steam world.

It's six hours
Of watch,
Six hours
Of sleep,
Six hours
Of watch,
Six hours
Of sleep,

Unless, something
Needs fixing,
Or we're
Refueling,
Or, we're getting ready,
To enter port.
Or,
Something else
Is happening,
Then there's
No sleep.
There's no sun
Anyway.
You wanna see
Sun,
Look through
The scope,
At the
Stack gas.

It's a world of
Valves,
And
Burners,
And,
Sight glasses,
And,
Pumps,
And,
Pipes and,
Gauges everywhere.
A new guy
Wonders,
How to learn
Them all.
It's an
Incomprehensible
Forest.
And then,
You get to
Know it.
Now some other guy,
Is the
New guy.

It's often a
Rain forest,
120 degrees,
That's Fahrenheit,
Folks.
95 per cent
Humid,
Since you're visiting,
Come help us
Find
Steam leaks.
But,
Keep your head
Down.
Steam is clear,
You won't
See it,
Before it
Cuts you,
In half.
We'll use brooms
Instead.
Just wave them overhead,
Along the pipes.
Have a salt tablet.

The steam
Snakes all about
The ship.
They need it,
To live.
Not just the
Wake,
But,
Heat,
Light,
Water.
All life
Comes from,
The boiler.
You'd think they'd
Appreciate
Us.

The Navy says,
It's worried about
Our heat stress,
(It's only 120)
And our hearing,
They want us
Out of
The heat,
More often,
Nice.
Who will keep
The lights on?
Maybe they'll
Start a new,
“Program.”
Do the paperwork,
And just
Keep us in
The hole.
We've been down here
So long,
We can't
Hear 'em,
Anyway.
Have another salt tablet,
And go back
To your regular job,
Topside.

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