N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 0 6
mother & child
bulleted as they knelt
in prayer—powder burns
where the slugs
entered & tore flesh,
blood erupting into dry air—
even as marines
moved on to machine gun
a man, his wife, his daughters,
the blind old man,
father reading his Koran,
the grandmother, mother,
& uncles. one survived,
playing dead beneath
the body of her
brother, his blood
covering, giving her life.
29 years at the print shop, tired,
obsessed with retirement, fishing on Lake Erie,
smelting up north in spring—
the bosses fired him just short of his full pension
& he came home fire in his eyes—
now he digs hostas from his garden & sells them
two bucks a pot lined up in his front yard,
saws lumber for birdhouses to pattern so his wife might
paint & sell them at craft sales.
he’s done the rounds,
at the truck shop, ran stock at the greenhouse, nothing
to keep him straight with hellhound bill collectors,
two years till social security kicks in—
he wanders in his garden, kicking clods, waiting
gun in hand for a rabbit to go for his seedlings.
he cannot talk about it—
heart pounds so hard he worries—heart attack
like his dad.
wild clouds race over treetops,
on Memorial Day & he dutifully raises his
flag to fallen comrades, their memory still
fresh as the day they dropped before his eyes.
Five Singers on the Ends of Night
hips weave & slip among
softlit floor lamps sway
around the loveseat slide
over lineolum—she poses
one hand on breast,
pirate with wiggling hips—
content with that too even
dancing solo (psyche-
delics in her past?
visions nightmares soft
dreams languid lovers
dancing on the iguana's
eyelid? songs built on
a rattlesnake's tail, the eagle
above in a cloudless sky?
Sunset in the saguaros,
the desert's languid dream
going, no place to go—yet she goes.
winding toward his
to say it, she's gone
she's gone she's
gone: curtains closed
in the great room,
the dog asleep by
the still-warm coals,
the fading fire.
in the distant dark?
who sings under
the streetlamp under
the jagged peak as
a crescent moon hangs
beyond the single
thin cloud, last yellow
fading to deep blue?
smoky deep night blue rattling train distant shout long hours passing like taxis loaded
with musicians in white suits snapbrim hats, bright women in silk, the long deep sigh
of a simple goodbye and "hiya! what's kickin' where we take it now?" hope in a quick
glance, breath still clinging to lost dreams that floated in with last night's fog & vanished
with a light wind, what gliding shadows melting in the brownstone dark, what sighs
sliding thru those dark windows what silent singer alone, listening, his heart a drum?
shadowy city smokes at dawn,
dark towers red beacons,
fierce clouds blowing up thru
stacks at Chemical #5—
roaring traffic brakelights all
up to the horizon—so many
racing to their deaths jobs
grinding them over the limits
go go go right up thru towering
windows shrieks in pearl light
cops racing thru scattering
pigeons to find the corpse
rolled in old blanket beneath
the stairway where the bankers
ascend to their private doorways,
turn & look back, aeromeds
churning in sharp light to land
on a distant hospital roof new
light another day come at last
horns echoing the en masse charge.
she makes her
again in her own skull—
lavender flowers swaying
slightly in the breeze—
gone, gone, gone
what she'd dreamed in the dark, so many silent rooms
fingers touching for a brief
moment by candlelight.
the stained-glass lily in the front window,
to the couch
where they'd first
declared their love and sang the delirious
their hearts had borne in silence