Friday, July 22, 2011

victory at sea

Aboard the U.S.S. Midway

Etta James paints the year's end in amber. Cabs stalk the wharf.
You're wearing the best suit you got and can't wait to get it off.
Somewhere this Friday night slipped into metaphor
and you test the rails on the flight deck: Sturdy.
They say, go ye into the byways and bid them fly, son,
before all these safe harbors turn to honeytonks
toasting their Buds to another slo-mo demise.
Ancestors spit on you from heaven!
Your granddaddy flew a PBY and lost it near the Aleutians,
adrift in this same ocean while the Japanese
searched for war in the fog overhead.
He later turned alcoholic and abusive and died young,
and sometimes heroes do that, but who's a hero?
Couldn't say. Even five-by-fives go sixes and sevens.
You're just a body of bliss with a girl on your arm.
This New Year's Eve, 2010, it's San Diego,
where the wind off the Pacific whips your jacket.
Etta's in your ear. You wait your turn to fly by night.

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