Hero, #201

While you were wailing
in your newborn crib
I was tuned into
the Mets and Red Sox,
tied into the set
for twenty-nine outs
that did not come,
seven games after
seventeen innings,
wretched heartbeats struck
countless times. Watching
with my mother, born
of Boston, dying
and being slaughtered
with every moment,
between both of us
we wolfed down the hits
and errors, the saves,
the homeruns, Rocket’s
right arm and Daryl’s
long loping amble.
We argued each night
and rubbed our noses
into the defeats.
We thought the dribble
moving through Buckner’s
legs was the greatest
and worst thing that could
happen between us,
that a sport that could
split a mom and son
must have no value
or mean everything.

When you were seven
I left for college,
packed up my suitcase
and my teddy bear,
crying in my bag.
At the state college
my mother and I,
like frozen statues
hovering over
the grounds,
memorials cast
on the stone sidewalk
that turned underneath
the tunnel and down
around a corner.
Her quivering lip,
my sister honking
the horn. In what world
should a parent be
separated from
their child by such
distance? Not like this.
Not for the reasons
we’re sired to give
our allegiance to,
to pledge our endless
blood for. We have spent
not nearly enough
days in unison,
standing on sidewalks
whispering good-bye.
We cried for how long
we would have to drive
to see each other.

In this incursion
I want to debate
policy, theory,
the potential use
of military
force as a method
for encouraging
the spread of freely
renewable, built
on the absolute
ideal of votes
equalling right, made
by the people for
the people and of
the people regimes,
a debate about
what authority
our democracy,
land of the free and
the home of the brave
has determining
the path and free will
of the citizens
in the world,
a debate about
the sword and the word,
with which we project
our best foot and our
first allegiance, to
whom to we commend
the body, spirit,
our mental prowess
and with what we lead.

Unfortunately,
people are dying
on both tragic coasts,
in the arms of moms,
Shia, Sunni, Kurd,
Americans trapped
beneath the rubble
of the Twin Towers,
the need to lash out
against someone,
to bring to a trial
the lip of a gun
or a beheading
anyone who might
have been inwardly
involved in any
of this. Our soldiers
being redeployed
time and again,
being sent back in
and being slaughtered,
and placed in harms way,
and more turned into
killers who suffer
a bit each moment
they are under siege,
away from their homes
and kept from mothers
who love them, fathers
who wish their children
could be farmers, work
in a factory
or a skyscraper.

I load up my car,
all my belongings,
snacks for the journey
a full tank of gas
and head out to work.
On the highway there
I forget to call
home, tell my mother,
that woman who sat
next to me in her
own cold agony,
suffered my taunting,
who I know worries,
but I have not told
how much I miss her,
miss the bantering
back and forth, and most
miss all the ballgames
we used to sit down
together to watch.
The raspy TV
whose signal goes in
and out, pre-cable,
the taste of dinner
served in the living room
so we would not miss
the first few innings,
the smell of popcorn
with salt and butter,
cry of umpires,
the dirt and the grass,
the crack of the bat
and thump of a ball
felled into a mitt.

So, as much as talk
intrigues me, as much
as I would enjoy
a good argument
about the finer
points of policy,
international
and domestic, as
much as I feel
I have to offer,
it’s not up to me
nor is it done for
my own enjoyment
or mental challenge
I here seek. Instead
I will surrender
to the forces who
would use you for gain,
political and
historic. I will
call you hero, and Mom,
call her a goddess,
who gave birth and raised
everyone of us
such sweet children
who would dedicate
their fate to winning
a fair victory
against an unfair
enemy. Hero,
that word, relevant
in tone and focus,
in shape and contrast
to foreign soil.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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