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The call

The call to battle hits
when his head first hits the pillow
The night’s an oblique start,
a grinder, his struggle
like a predatory witch, a wolf who
doesn’t bite him much because,
of course, he isn’t one of us

“Why do you snub me?” she asked
but he didn’t
She was deep in light conversation with
the redoubtable Professor Hugh Higeybottom
and he didn’t dare (care) to interrupt them
Two professors, one to the other talk, walk past him
(but damn, professor or not, she surely bores him)

They are treated like slaves not workers
and fed much worse than slaves
Not all is all right here
in the home of freedom, greed, and the brave
They told him things young that he wants to be true
It’s no accident; we know what we’re about
like a rocky piece of desert, hot and ugly

The past is a foreign place
It’s a placid country lane in the sun
where the likes of me and you
aren’t wanted anymore
He says this, but he means something
very different — he means, the government
killed my brother for revenge and for fun

With respect to the other stuff—
their sexual improprieties,
he knows that silence is best
A good man doesn’t tell tales, he says
Before he couldn’t see through her ectoplasm,
he couldn’t see the fraught grotesque—
skin tight to her bones as light flags

Matt left to go on the train
to Syracuse, to college
He went alone and had just a vague idea
of where he’d go
He later told me he wasn’t even a bit afraid
“Mom gave me a $100 and when I have
money like that I’m okay”

She gave him a small bag to carry
The little bag breaks—the bottle cracks, it slips from his hands
Don’t underestimate my ability to tough it out,
for years, he later tells the love of his life
“Don’t give men small things to carry”
his ex-wife’s Mom later, sagely, tells her,
“They aren’t very good at it and they don’t like it”

 

 

 

-July 5, 2014-