For a while I too was haunted by
memories of your frightened faces
as we hovered nearby, shooting
warning tracers above your heads.
It was amazing—you thought waving
American flags would save you.
We had other rooftops to fly to.
Coming back from the last one
we saw the fire you had set as a beacon.
We couldnŐt help it. We laughed.
The cries and curses you threw up
into that sky were instantly
drowned out and chopped up
by bladed arks already flying away.
I am among my own now, who do not
worship stones or rivers, or impute
to them a memory of any kind.
What does not perish here by forgetting
survives only in the occasional bad dream.
We wake up each morning to a new history.
We donŐt know if we remember.
We have become accustomed
to taking one to bed
like a nightmare
kept under the pillow
for just those times
persuasion must be fatal,
as we when we huddled
in fear and anger
our mouths a ragged
ache of holes
against the familiar
(Walter Reed AMC)
Throughout the neon lit ward
braces thunder to music
no one can hear.
The wooden ribs of the floor
are splitting under the weight
of so much metal.
An attendant smiles and shouts,
He motions to a chair atop which
my friend is propped, his torso
swaying in time with the stumbling shapes
dancing on stumps.
The first lesson is as simple
as the looking glass.
A deception you read
from left to right.
Reflection tells you
who is being taken in.
Gradually youŐll recognize
every hoax by its face,
like the image you now confront
and the steel trap
that frames it.
Bio: His work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including: The Georgia Review , Carrying the Darkness—The Poetry of the Vietnam War (Avon, Texas Tech University Press), South Carolina Review , Men of Our Time—An Anthology of Male Poetry in Contemporary America (University of Georgia Press), Breaking Silence—An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Poets (Greenfield Review Press), Onset Review and Garrison KeillorŐs WriterŐs Almanac (National Public Radio).