Monthly Archives: October 2005

While we are attending

The finalization of the story of the saturday party, how about a bunch of poems out of my journal. Unedited, as always, with the exception of notes made in the margins.

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Rifle

Rifle

When held in hand,
this eight and a half
pound plastic and metal
loaded machine
does not seem
like enough to kill:
it is a toy.

Even when pocketed into
the shoulder hard
and strapped to arm
and targeted to paper
it does not seem
like enough to kill:
it is a toy.

Even when trigger pulled
so slightly
and recoiled through to feet
and body returned to rest
it does not seem
like enough to kill:
it is a toy.

Until the sight of blood
blooms on a chest
and the iron scent
drifts on two-hundred
meters of flat desert breeze,
it does not seem
like enough to kill:
it is a toy.

–08 May 2005

Spring, Fort Bragg

Spring, Fort Bragg

In spring in the pine foothills
of North Carolina
the wind pulls
mustard yellow curtains
across the firebreaks.
Pollen collects
on week-old rain puddles
where mosquitoes breed.
Yellowed camouflage trucks
no longer green and brown
but an even matte yellow.
Yellow paste makeup
covers even the eyelashes
of the Marines, changes them
to the ghosts they will become
given time and war enough,
colorless death pallored
faces in blank pine boxes.

–08 May 2005

The Drill Instructor

The Drill Instructor
with thanks to Ted Kooser, for the phrase “shoes carved from obsidian” from a lecture at the Library of Congress

An Air Force Officer
told me once,
before I enlisted,
that the worst thing
in his Basic Training
was hearing the metallic
click of the Sergeant’s
tap-augmented shoes
before the lights flashed on.

So, when I got to Parris Island,
I was not prepared
for the sound of a natural-
shod horse on the worn concrete
floor of the barracks.

The Drill Instructor,
shoes carved from obsidian,
(unscarred, unsmirched
even after a day of shining
in the sun the sand the rain)
approached like gravity
at nine point eight meters
per second squared.

faster faster
unchecked
obsidian shoes
drum concrete echoes
and suddenly an index
finger appeared
one centimeter
from my eyeball,
smudged the
plastic lens
of the birth-
control-
goggles.

–07 May 2005

A Word, the Sound

A Word, the Sound

This was unintentional:
a bridge, somewhere,
away in the country,
was lowered
with a word.
a dam, far away,
on a trickle stream,
was opened
with a word.
This is how floods
begin.
a trickle, slow
and small
but just enough
to overflow banks or roads
downstream.

Animals know the sound:
low grinding scraping slow
crack.
They flee.
We humans always know better
but a man
with his lightning skis
or biting boots
will start it
tomorrow or today
or next week:

The slide the death
ride the avalanche
that will hurl him faster
than before and through
barriers such as trees
and snow and ice boulders
the size of cars
and in the end he will lay,
under a ton of the earth,
that will melt in a month,
crushed.

I should have known:
the rumbles were there
the stream swoll
but her lack of confession
allowed hope.
(hope may be worse than love, in this manner)
While sleep-walking
the choice made the switch thrown, the word said.
The sun came out and with it the crack
and I knew
but I knew not
so I climbed
one foot at a time
until it all gave out
and here I lay in the valley
crushed.

–05 May 2005

How much fun?

Let me say it this way… I have not had that much fun in a long time. Thank you, Frankie, and all the friends I know through you and Mr.-X. 🙂

There will be much description and name changing in a future installment.

I know I haven’t been writing many stories lately, things have been very busy between school and work. There is a story in the works, but I hope the poems have been keeping my one or two readers happy. Happy Friday!