Captain B


‘Ukiyo 3’ by Captain B


Niko was up ahead.

I rode through the night. No moon. Just a trusty steed’s senses and my ability to see in the dark.

She has been up ahead for some time. I had been down for some. A moon and then some has passed since we have known bliss.

The shapeshifter slipped into the room one night. She indeed spied Niko, naked, slip into the night. Beckoned by the forest to dance in the wind, among the pines, under a past moon that had shined upon a better time.

Then the Delilah nudged me with a cup in my daze. My blurry eyes and sleepy senses took her form as that of Niko, the only one to lie beside me in our bed.

In the cup was medicine. Or so it was said. She claimed my breathing irregular. She feigned concern as the real one might. The real one, I know, master of potions and spells and many things not known to most. This one too. They learned from the same sorceress. They grew together in the same womb.

I drank from the cup. My eyes opened too late and only a fleeting moment before they shut again tight. She cut my top knot. The prize she would claim and exchange for power. Spells and potions and still the elusive secret to transform will into bidding. Easier to come about it with cunning, dishonesty, and at the expense of others.

My top knot must be retrieved and thrown into the fire. It has already been the source of malevolent witchery for selfish ends.

The sleep was deep. It was not restful. Niko stayed around long enough to nurse me back to consciousness. When I finally came to- weeks later- she said nothing. I tried in vain to stand. I could not. Even my voice was barely audible and that which I willed to express, more than feeble.

She rode away on her mare and did not look back. My sobs, the only protest I could make.

Eventually I rose from the bed. I examined that tragic night and the folly. I observed the wrong turn and the clues missed that would have prevented all of this.

I am now strong. I now must act.

I have dreamed and seen Niko’s activity. I know what she is up to. She is highly capable and able. Still, even she can benefit from aid at certain times.

The time that draws near will certainly be one of those times.

My only chance for reconciliation is to appear at the auspicious moment, brandishing steel with a purpose.

The time is nigh.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Plans for repose’ by Captain B


going back
it was good to be home
a long holiday visit
a long journey and campaign
this year
i was bearing gifts

there were those i had to see
on other matters
the winter was upon us
best to just survive

but when spring arrived
our journey would
and could only be timed
to arrive some months later
for their spring
in the land we had to visit
for reasons
we had not a clue


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Ukiyo 2’ by Captain B


The last thing they tasted was my steel. The three who came for me.

Well. Niko claims one of the dead. Her dagger found his throat as he attempted to come in through the window. I had urged her to leave it to me. She thought otherwise. The other two also lost their lives, spilling from their throats. I prefer clean kills. Their daimyo met his end in the same fashion.

Raven has flown ahead, making sure the morning’s road is free from ambush. Tomorrow we ride.

The last thing I tasted was Niko’s kiss as she refilled my cup with sake. Now I put the cup to my lips, but not before licking them, savoring her before sipping it.

After we cleaned up the mess and the hired driver wheeled the corpses off with a message back from where they came, I made us a nice ramen then washed the dishes.

Niko now resumes her melodic and hypnotic pickings on the lute. Her kimono hiked high and open, urging me to have a taste but not with haste. Listen to the melody. Have another cup or two. The moon hasn’t even risen yet.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Ukiyo 1’ by Captain B


Ninja fell to the roof silently. Niko strummed the lute hypnotically. I sipped sake with suspicion, having wagered their arrival this night. Mind tricks and games of strategy. A back and forth that lasted weeks, but acumen determined this night.

The Raven, my first and favorite comrade of this region, just but let out a seemingly casual caw to tip me off of the assassins. Another slight kraa received and I know they are three.


Such a slight team for the warrior who slashed their daimyo down in such a stealthy way. Quick and correct my blade. Mixed breeds the both of us.

My left eye and eyebrow signal to Niko not to miss a bridge or a chord. Long ago I secretly called her Neobulé before we came together. She has only begun to educate me on musical vernacular. Forgive my ignorance. She is well armed. Although even a ninja assassin has a code of honor and she should be safe and not a target.

That is unless the daimyo’s widow ordered otherwise.

I feel them now. One is in the hallway closest to me. She is on the other side of the room. Albeit a second is just outside the window below her. The third is near the most logical exit which we call the back door.

When the daimyo discovered I was a bastard son just as he, he would not accept it. When he found out my father was from Paros, his Thracian father rolled over in his grave. Homelands, years forgotten. Ancient conflicts, not so. Migrations east to other continents. Abeyant tongues of our fathers. Adoption of that of our mothers, could not placate his anger or resentment.

He called on me correctly. At high noon on a day exactly a month ago, I gifted him first strike…then beat him to it. The clean slash severed his jugular. Some of the closest spectators wore his blood on their kimonos as they left the duel in fear, lamenting and wondering what would become of their daimyo’s fiefdom.

I must now rise and get to it. Three? Ha! They do not know with whom they deal!



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘The average eye’ by Captain B


The average eye
wouldn’t have noticed a thing
It all appeared swept and clean
The normal nostril
would not have picked up
the very slight tobacco scent in the air
but just as soon, maybe even before
Sensei crossed the threshold into the dojo
smoking his own ever present calumet
the hum and frequency changed
He was disturbed
With his cane that he didn’t need to walk
but had infinite other uses for, many quite painful
he pointed to an impression on the tatame
that only he could see
then he pointed to me
Your fat ass!
He pointed to another
and to my brethren
Your stinky buttock!
then to another and another brother
You, greasy stinkhole, know everywhere!
then to three impressions of no one present
Mmmm, very sexy! He licked his lips
Tracing another with his cane
But maybe she my preference
The last figurine, he only paused
then the cane issued pain
After our beating
the duties were dealt
One ton onion! He barked at Miyal
One thousand bucket! He screamed at Suquel
Then he caned me and i fell to my knees
He saddled atop my shoulders
and ordered me to stand
After some additional whacks of the cane
I learned that every step i took
with him atop my shoulders
needed to be a squat
If the knee didn’t touch the ground
he’d smack me all the way back to the beginning
All day was the long road with load
He oversaw Suquel carry bucket after bucket
straight up mountain from the river valley far below
When we snuck up on Miyal crying streams
the knife momentarily set on the counter
among mounds and mounds of onions
Sensei ordered one ton more
We wondered how we’d spend the night
Just after sunset
Sensei dismounted
He ordered the three of us fetch a barrel
from a cellar we’d never had access to before
You like the drink? Let’s drink!
The master then drank the three of us under the table
Morning came quicker than usual
and i was made to fetch buckets that day


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘As the absolute shines, it scorches’ by Captain B


As the absolute shines, it scorches
The land is thirsty
Thirsty for many things
The judge and lieutenant
Are about to get it
Skinned alive and scalped
Would be less than they deserve
And they but two drops in a lot
A lagoon, a sea of infamy, rage
Blood that never ceases to flow
A meridian, a constant
Flow, always to the next slaughter
The next chapter
Who can we decimate?
Who can we submit to our will?
Yes, we blaspheme
Yes, it the Obscene
The one true
Atavistic instincts from atavistic fears
We didn’t ask to be born to this
But here we are now
Aren’t we? Dance?


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Paper cunts’ by Captain B


Paper cunts
Origami xxx
Roll up a newspaper
Easy phallus, beginner strokes

How’d all these flies get in?

Downplay the hierarchy
I woke in a bad way
Grimace, furled brow
Growling at it all

Want some grilled grouse
Roasted red potatoes with garlic, olive oil and rosemary
On a Montana patio
With my Uncle Jim
And a cellar full of wine

Disgusted at this new world
And why i woke the grimace
My brother’s usual humor
Ain’t all that funny today

Do not understand technology at all
Fail at it more each day
And the gremlins laugh
Knowing exactly what
They’re doing to me

How about a tuna sandwich?
Should at least stop the growling
Of my stomach

Why settle?
I know a place of libation
With food
Should that libation not erase
A comfortable, darkly-lit space
They all think they know my name



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘L, the hero of my day’ by Captain B


We all always agreed that he was an intellectual without a doubt. How he’d made it to working among riff-raff like us has always been a mystery.

Recently, the woman whose position I have but taken over at a sister university wrote a scathing exit email detailing many of the failures of the system and the never-to-be-recommended prospect of teaching at this university (yes, here I sit) or any university in Mexico. Well, wouldn’t argue any of that with a serious academic. Some of my new colleagues were a little hurt when she identified them as ex-cons, conspiracy theorists, UFO chasers, tax dodgers etc. She even questioned their hygiene.

I hope she’s doing swell downdogging on her sacred mountain, holier than thou. Stretch that sacrum before upward facing dog, nose high up in the air where it can usually be found. There are tales…

She surely talked the talk.

But this ain’t really about her.

Maybe it was that his name came up this past weekend when three former colleagues and three great friends from that previous university came down to visit us on the coast. He was mentioned merely in passing as I asked one of those colleagues if the university had called this former professor begging that he return to the university in the wake of numerous departures in just the past year. The three who visited, my wife and me, he – the one in question, along with two others.

‘Not to my knowledge,’ my good friend admitted along with not having run into or having reached out to L the subject of the last fragments of dreamland before the alarm sounded at six-thirty this morning.

I was smoking on the rooftop of an apartment where I was evidently living. It was morning, but the sky was cloudy with impending storm and dark as night. I wondered why I was drinking coffee. I didn’t recall having to work that day and thought, given the weather and gloom, back to bed was not a bad idea in the least.

Back down in the building, in the corridor of my supposed apartment building, L approached wearing all white, loose fitting white clothing (traditional oaxaqueña, guayabera and baggy, cool as in temperature wise pants). Around his neck was a thick gold chain with a fist and a half-sized emblem of something. It could have been a crucifix. It could have been Madonna and Christ Child. The brilliance was blinding and failed to allow a detailed examination.

Hey how’s it going? We exchanged pleasantries and inquiries about work. I remembered my current post, and that indeed, I did have to work and wondered just how in the hell I was going to get there (here) but took the time to ask if he’d been working on any translations. He had and was making a good living based solely on that endeavor. Good for you. We made plans for coffee at some point. As we parted and I continued down the hall, I looked out the window to see the now risen sun dispersing the storm and bringing the light and the day.

No plans for mass at this point though my interest was sparked in ecclesiastical matters.

So I just now checked the catalog of the liturgical press L translates for. The publisher was created by the university that happens to be where my very working-class father was sent first for four years of prep school followed by four years of university before attending another university for a master’s in art. My grandparents had invested in the education of their first-born to be a priest or intellectual or artist. History reveals he went about the last two on the list and not the first. He is the only one among four children to get a university education.

But this is about L, not my father.

I found the catalog. L had mentioned the projects to me, but I had forgotten many details. One of the two listed is a Latin to English translation of thirty-one homilies on Isaiah 13-16 written by the 12th century English Cistercian monk, Aelred of Rievaulx. The major themes are spiritual friendship in Christ and progress of the individual soul. The other work is a Latin to English translation of twenty-eight sermons dealing with predestination, the problem of evil, and Christ’s two natures written by the also 12th century English and Cistercian monk, Isaac of Stella.

Interesting that both Isaac of Stella and Aelred of Rievaulx were English monks and then abbots born within ten years of each other. Whether they knew each other or not isn’t clear, I’d like to inquire with L on those details. Isaac of Stella left England for France where he studied and became abbot of the monastery of Stella outside Poitiers. Aelred of Rievaulx became the abbot of Rievaulx (the names say it all) in Yorkshire.

The Isaac of Stella translation boasted an introduction written by a monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani famous for being the home of Thomas Merton for some twenty-seven years. L, before moving to Mexico, taking a position at that previous university, and getting married, was a monk for ten years in Berryville, Virginia about an eight-hour drive from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown, Kentucky.


I had also conjectured in the past that Thomas Merton might have been a major influence on L. L, aside from being a polyglot- he fluently speaks, reads, writes, and does or could translate, to and from and among, oh, English, Latin (yes, can speak fluently and conversationally), Greek, Spanish, French, German, and Italian. He admits having put aside studying Sanskrit for a time but hasn’t written it off.

I don’t think L was one of those YMCA monks there for the towel snapping.

But my brother and former colleague (of L’s as well) and again colleague in literary tomfoolery and I agree or suppose or conjecture that L’s monastic life was the result of his drinking, smoking, and sordid university years. His hangover lasted for ten years in which he shut himself in a cell and got a helluva lot of work done.

I’ll send L a message soon to see how he’s doing and if we might meet up for that coffee when I roll through town next July.

Dream interpretation (as I have only but ceased to sweat from the walk up): The emblem or medallion he wore around his neck- the blazing (and holy) sun Absolute. The light apparel- what I should be wearing instead of these black jeans (the first and last day). This light cotton shirt can stay, but kick these tennies off and find some huaraches. Open-toed huaraches or chanclas are acceptable by university standards as they are regarded as traditional. Havaianas or any lesser flip-flop are not.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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