DISAPPEARING SOLDIERS

    —for M.J.C., MIA, Fallujah, Iraq, November 2004

1. PASSING

Old moon
In the new moon’s

Arms        afterward
Your scent

In the seminar room
Corduroy & plaid

Each time
For a long time

Such        cautionary
Togetherness

As if your Naval officer
Past        No longer

Mattered
Had been enough

The bombing of that ship
You shirtless

At the edge of
A pronouncement

 

2. VOICE

You will not answer
        I know
but the ringing
        soothes me
the even intervals …

how will I know
        you’ve left
if near me
        your presence
is imperceptible

if not for mornings’
        stillness this anguish
would disappear
        with you
and never return

 

3. TAKING OFF

He falls from tall buildings
and hits bottom.

He’s afraid of heights
but not of falling,

not of the air
that passes through

his weightless,
invisible body.

He can’t say
if he’s landed,

if he’s still alive.

 

4. TOUCH

If only I had never known
        any love

 

5. MARINE: GOD WANTS US TO BE TOGETHER OR HE WOULD NEVER HAVE INVENTED FITTED SHEETS

At noon on his day off
we meet at TJ’s Tattoos
next door to the boarded
up Gentleman’s Club
Rick or Bill or Chuck
he says as the morning
haze burns through
sun and a green canvas
covered backdoor past
a courtyard where the
owner tries to grow weed
we emerge to a woman
without legs who needs
help crossing the street
akin to don’t ask near
Camp Pendleton in
Oceanside CA for an
hour where my roommate
leaves to walk through
town to meet his marine
who’s sitting at a bench
watching a red horizon

 

6. KYOTO, ON SUICIDE

No one obeys the
counterintuitive
side of the road

autumn in late December
monks in colorful sandals
blue–skirted schoolgirls

scampering the mile
loop through the bright
orange torii and the
city glistening

below — an ocean
he’s been fantasizing
walking into
jumping into

 

7. satellite radio
anything but this noose
        of the unknown. J,
some sign
        some funny
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