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






My Toy Soldier


At an inch high, he was patriarch of them all.  He had a grizzle

beard, a cigar clamped between teeth and eyes that squinted at

sun.  The Army of the Potomac’s Yankee Sergeant, he would when I

was older, a king in rags, drag himself to the palace, and

slaughter all the diners at a banquet man by man.  Spitting stray

finger joints from the Battle of Chickamauga into a street-corner

bucket, he walked along wooden sidewalks reading nickel narratives

of the Bloody Kansas Wars.  He bought a ham sandwich and a new

cigar at the drugstore.  At the end of his life, he waddled with

legs so bowed, he looked like he was straddling a barrel of

daylight.  His eyes brimmed with light and he laughed like he was

spilling his insides out.  When he knew it was time to go he

bought a white suit, packed a valise and waited in a chair.  A few

days later, the undertaker had to break his thighs to straighten

him out for the box.



[Originally published in NHS 1996, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs96/index.html#13.]