Monthly Archives: October 2005

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!

Japanese Steel, part II

Japanese Steel, II

Chopped parsley rests on the cutting board,
wet, green, smelling of chlorophyll
like fresh-cut grass.

The Ginsu Knife rests in my green fingers,
sharp, steel, finely balanced
and mass-produced.

There was a time when Japanese Steel was
crafted, folded by Masters’ hands
over many months.

I wonder how long it took for the Samurai Sword
to evolve that perfect curve for slicing,
reflected in this knife.

How long before folding the metal with soot ash
became common practice, to enhance
strength and sharpness?

How long the Shogun to accrue so many slaves
that he would test the blades
on their bodies?

Simple cuts: finger from hand, hand from wrist,
arm from shoulder, shin from knee,
head from neck?

And more complex: through thigh, through
torso and through ribs sideways,
through the skull?

Top-rated cuts: left shoulder to right torso down,
left torso to right shoulder up,
through hips and pelvis?

How long to evolve a rating system to denote
the efficiency of the blade in killing,
its strength and sharpness?

How long to evolve this massed-produced, laser-cut,
always sharp and cheap,
Ginsu Knife?

————————
This is part II of Japanese Steel series. Here is Part I. In other notes, I plan on taking this series to three or four parts. The ideas are bouncing around in my head, but they haven’t really coalesced yet. Also, this version of part II obviously needs some work, mainly in the form and word-choice areas. I also want to add another dimension to this… Something to point to the ridiculous early commercials to add a sense of humor maybe? Not sure yet.
Let me know what you think.

Interesting

Well, don’t know how many of you read Salon, but I found this interesting article on the current state of masculinity in men of my generation. Big interesting ideas from

there is a super-abundance of attractive, intelligent young women whom a man is very unlikely to be worthy of, who nevertheless set a higher value on him than he sets on them. This makes any sort of decision very difficult.”

To ideas concerning sex, the purposes of dating, and other reasons for the apparent apathy of the close-to-thirty-ish men have for women, and by extension, for life in general. There are also some suggested cures for this coming plague, such as:

“men whom I’ve known and dated. They haven’t had things they loved, or even things they really cared about …
[Interrupting] Women shouldn’t have sex with these guys! As a whole, you should go on some sort of a sexual strike against just such men.”

I have not really formed an opinion on all of this yet, but the article is enlightening, and I can see myself (or myselves of the past) having some of those attributes. So what does this mean for me, now, in my life?

Must Contemplate.

Salon Article
by Rebecca Traister

For those in the know

The Monday night movie-thing has been postponed until possibly tomorrow, and possibly indefinitely, due to work conflicts. The lack of a canceling phone call was not really a surprise. The surprise came at the apologizing phone call, which I (naively, maybe) took to be a good sign. But for those in suspense (including myself), we shall discover tomorrow.