Not Too Late The Father Hope - Inside My Father's Bomber Dream

for the Major, my father, an airman, not a sailor
for Richard Hugo, an airman, and a poet
for Hart Crane, not a sailor (but he loved them)
a poet too, and fellow bedlamite

Take air away and even fire falls - Richard Hugo

'Descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God...
Prayer of pariah, and the lover's cry...' - Hart Crane


1

Again, what is remembered.

The chase is on.

Sailors this time.

Beyond the Narrows
swallows murmur.
Beneath the Verrazano
some crouch low over
cheap shots, guarding
each while outside gypsies
park and wait, the drivers
names hard to say but they
belong, this city where citizens
names, no matter the sound
of them, translate as 'Everyone
from Elsewhere' and so belong
here where being drunk is only
weather, and the port, old,
grand, will pass for any other
but for codes of odd graffiti:


ASK THE WELDER
WHO'S YOUR MOTHER


REAL WINNERS CHOOSE THEIR GOD


FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
5 BUCKS TO CONEY & BACK

Implication: come to terms:

on this manic strand the
franks are speechless
in the hand relenting to
degrees of gray mustard
smeared as the wind also
gray beside the ruined
amusements, thrills, rides
plummeting stick children
hard and down where fresh
girls defy gravity while they
can curving in cues between
tracks and sand. Impatient,
they blot their brightened
lips, stain tissues thin between
World Wars, still they cry
out a dead poet's name.

....

Interlude - Refueling Mid-Air

A lone crane squints, its good
eye busy, a study in stillness.
Or is it avian will gone to muck
all feathers and no faith that
matters, stuck, it poses, puts
on a zennish show all butoh
in the shallows.

Its bad eye
skims the narrows,
curved neck smooth,
feminine, as is

the distant bridge
curved, feminine too,
don't call it grace but
acknowledge the tempation.

Pace yourself.

To South Wind

throw sand,
make demands

though men in
bombers forever take flight

still bereaving wind sheer.
Hard evidence is there.

What's to believe in?
Fear's the only thing real,

the only god one
can depend upon, Lift,

some few others too,
Dare, Weight, and Soft Landing.


Let us mention again
fresh girls on the rides but

let us return also
to the presenting scene,

stare birdblind,

and lend no myth
at all

for there
as here death

is a generic dump
with glutted gulls,

soft waves
lapping all
about lull
and Stop Time

or so says the
yellowed script
in sand,
the hint is there or

spin or drift, some
thing suggested where
breath as darkness is

design -

streetlights
turn themselves on

hum in low tones
metric,

the boardwalk's
hat trick, sudden

electric brush strokes,
each plank a silver

sheen voiding solidity.

Benched blonds
free now from
restraining rides

keen on in
staggered rhyme
forgetting they once
were German swans
Grimm and pale.

Posing as cranes,
they forget still a
dead poet's name.

....


2


Flying Lesson

Though he tried
to teach me once,

a void kid
avoidant of air and
heights,

'Here's how to purposefully
stall in flight' he proposes.

Not at all
interested in the favor
of the lesson

my answer's
a loud scream and
piss pants,

no chance to
stall a bladder, his
disgust

palpable,
my head catches a
glancing knuckle
which

does not becalm.



Much forgiven
or lost in cloud,

I've no idea still what
the inside of my father's
bomber

looks like, how
it smells laden
with fear

perhaps passed
off as gun powder, fuel,
flak flame

and smoke so
black and deep in the
pores

it stinks a lifetime.

Yours. Also mine by blood.

Still, your son
is proud though fear is
the meal

you often fed
dutifully eaten with sliced
bread so

white white
light in the shaking
hand,

dread was
the tarnished knife and fork,
simple

instruments to
quell the terror in you
served up to sons,

at least one
of them.

It is your fear
made mine, and this,


dessert is a son's pardon.


3

You nod, wink,
in dream all's understood,
unsaid but conveyed -

not too late the father-hope.


If you have one more bomb to
let go let's do it together. God
has chosen me and It wants
revenge, REVENGE the name
on a sudden wall, a painted
scene, swamp in black light
3-D bizarre, iridescent Spanish
moss dense, tangled, sways,
hints an invisible wind, there
you are, an old portrait, in uniform,
good looks, sad, even gentle
eyes I dimly recall in person,
a smile noncommittal, the war is on.


Suddenly I lose stomach for it all.

I forgive everything.

You are young, a bomber pilot
dropping heavy kisses backed
up in the bomb-bay.

There's a wall somewhere
central in every capitol
of the world with your name on it.

Promise, I'll drop your name, not
bombs, every son's chance I get.

See all these sailors here
in packs? I'd kiss them all,
say to them,

Love your old man,

what he's seen is in his eyes,
finally dare to look hard there,
the face is yours,
no talking allowed,
no guessing either,

watch his hands,
what they do.

Never say

it's over.

Love, I mean.


CODA

That Sunday bar beneath
the bridge ushers ships in
and out the harbor counting
bodies of birds fallen from
girders pale blue,

watching them fall's a kind of sport,

a free shot per bird, bad
whiskey, bottom shelf, both
winners and losers choosing
from what's offered or what's
left in the one bottle,

nothing
for dead swallows.


One takes what's given.


Some simple lessons learned

grant clumsy purity free pass

to go unjudged, or unnoticed,


hunger there in every

young face, shirt tail's

out and votive, sailors

are starched, stiff and

native, everyman, no

wind to blow them.


Still, the chase is on.

by Warren Falcon

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