At the helm of a wasteland,
An abandoned Naval Air Base now
Every jaundiced edifice barricaded by white
Plywood from the outside, stands
A kiel and its solitary chore
To hold a great wingèd beast hovering
Above a patch of green
On route to an abandoned desert war.
One day we lighted up, sat
Half-squating on the grass
Gulpfulls of smoke rising
Up past the nose of the Tomcat.
But, for me, no father, brothers — mama (my)
Wouldn’t’ve let them anyway — in any war;
19 years old
Is youngish to die.
Aside: (Page A6, new and clean,
The New York Times — mornings I read
At home with mama on the
Floor — told me it was routine.)
High on Alaskan Thunder Fuck (their phrasing)
I felt safe to share
My concern for well-
Being with the boys (also naval gazing),
Who returned blankish defying
Stares — Ian even looked up
From the bright spot
Focused from mama’s magnifying
Glass reddening the calm
Of the cardboard-looking cylinder
Attached by a couple more dark cylinders
To the brown spatula of his palm.
I wasn’t the thoughtful boy
Who is also the leader.
I am the boy with the car and mama
That holds boys
Till they let the black and blue
Of eyelids turn wet with
Older evil water
Trying to make it through
Towards divinity. Any day
A backpack by the door meant
Mama boiling tap water and a boy
smiling sheepish, tanned back to clay,
On the high stool without his things.
I think she makes them feel down-
Right civilized with saucers. “Hi”—Axed the matter,
Boys; “Kings among kings.”
The boy believes mama’s destined
“Among high school roughery, steal
What tough boys knew
When they stole away the muffler
In Auto Shop, made old steel
Carcasses machine guns again”
What did they know? An older
Evil question in real
Two hands are one rifle.
Hollow, intimated, surfaceless bullets
Into my gut, mama’s counter imbrued.
It’s a downright massacre or “Just a trifle,”
The saucer’s caught the most of it.
The casualty of mimicry
Is knowing real noise’s competence.
Silence is inadequate,
Ian mocks me “19 years
And he ain’t ready to go.
Only thing ya fears is fear himself—
Only thing I fears
Is my old man’s belt,
The one with the studded dragon
And the big buckles when I
Told him that I felt.”