H e a r t S o n s & H e a r t D a u g h t e r s of A l l e n G i n s b e r g
N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 4 : A r c h i v e s E d i t i o n
Having slept past noon following
a sleepless night, I walked
over to Gina's house, fed
& entertained her cats;
watched the Halls of Montezuma,
a very good movie starring
Richard Widmark as a high school
chemistry teacher turned
United States Marine Lieutenant
fighting in the South Pacific,
a moral man with a conscience
being tragically tested
under horrific circumstances.
While his platoon died around him,
& he desperately sought information
from stubborn samurai prisoners
without resorting to torture,
a load of laundry tumbled in the dryer.
I wasn't going to make the train
that would take me the fireworks
by the river behind City Hall.
When the fireflies emerged
I rode my bicycle to the supermarket.
Picked up a few food items
& something to help me sleep,
waited in a slow checkout line
as the women ahead of me
signed checks for their purchases.
Outside, an indigo evening
rumbled with distant bombs,
rockets launched from backyards
exploded above shingled roofs,
automatic weapons fire erupted
on street corners, a large grenade
blew up between two houses.
But here my neighbors are grilling hot dogs
with mariachi music, their children
on the sidewalks waving sparklers.
I do not like being alone
on the 4th of July, & I am not
strolling through the patriotic crowd
in the parking lot by the river
behind City Hall, solitary,
with a bag of zeppoles, smiling
at the big battle in the sky.
[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Bob_Rixon.htm.]