Sunday, March 1, 2015


(This feature is part of TRUCK’s Theme Issue on the List or Catalog Poem. You can go HERE for an Index of the Participating Poets.)


Praise Song

A morning prayer
to body armor and weapons

all that keeps you safe
the drill sergeant and the bullet

interpreter and phrase book
To MREs and rocket launchers

also the forward operating
base and your radio operator

I want to praise the desert
and its mountains falling

into rivers wide nights
vast stars a moon or two

To helicopter pilots and soldiers
who donate blood the medic

and tourniquet
dog tags and helmet

I sing of your boots caked
in clay rough with hours

of the IED you don’t step
on and the dog who finds it

The specialist and sniper
tip of the spear and rear guard

To Tajik Pashtun Hazara
an anthem to women in nearby villages

that they will be wild with fury
To your smile and your instinct

A praise song to next month and next
each one that brings you home alive

The Heaviest Burden is an Empty Pocket
                        Hebrew proverb

The blue rock shell fragment
Tic-tac, pen paper clip

Shape of your pocket filled
with hair band, tooth pick pistol

The weight of cell phone, note
pad and heavy ideas

Remember the one about how you looked
at water running over a rock

for so long it became real
There’s room for faces

the muggy mouth from before you were born
Brow over blue eyes like a photograph’s torn edges

The pocket’s worn smile found
by the roadside the night you lost your way

Poke the pouch of your life
to overflowing – jacket or jean

Any small area different
from its surroundings

Pocket a memory, veto
knife or some cash

Think of Venus and sad Pluto
the smell of desert sage

Shape it till there’s no room
for anything but emptiness

Tito’s Cadillac

You rock star mick-jaggering across the canvas
            out of the boulevards of Belgrade, that swash

 buckle blue weaving through narrow streets
            you Eisenhower-power-tripping gift

your engine glowering, your Charlie Sheen
            isms spit-firing from the grill

“the hieroglyphic is earthworm you rant
            your Eldorado blue not to be messed with

because you’re the Marshall’s lagoon of peace
            lapping at the shores of Zagreb

Your steel – an old lightning charging through crowds
            in Tahrir Square

asking about free will and radiance
            Charlie’s lexicons raining on their parade

Drive on you said but it was late
            the boss golfing on some archipelago

The shine on your hood, baby, that’s museum
            wax, while the tourist who nicked your mirror

heard nostalgia in a song, said, is it
            some here-we-go-again tune

Scratch this scar tissue    remember the car
            knows about return 

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