An Old Navy Man

By Johanne LaRocque


His coffee tastes of freshly tarred driveway
Burning nostrils, stinging eyes, feeding
Tendrils of bitterness sprouting from
Inky black grounds of hate settled in the bowl of his soul
A self-proclaimed old navy man
The smell of his fear rises like evening tide in the
Volume of TV hate talk, checks to right –wing groups
And the violence of words fired,
Small scud missiles riding hearing aid whistles
Designed to destroy their targets

An old navy man who used to be somebody in this town
Now visible only to himself
Roaming the stacks of papers, magazines,
Broken tools, and machinery piled with years of dust
All these years.  Old is old.  The future is here.  No time left.

He used to define himself in the light of a billboard marquee
Selling a great new product that everyone could name and point to
Time and demolition have stripped away all controls
There is nothing left but the sound of his shuffle and slide of his walker
Echoing in an empty lot that people drive by without even noticing

The well is running dry and he feels exposed,
Raw, naked, his illness now showing for everyone to see
What he wouldn’t give for that familiar volcanic power inside to rise
So he could shake up the world like he used to
But it’s growing dark behind filmy eyes, sight is dimming,
From not so far away, drawing near,
Night, sails set to the sky approaches
Dark beckons, humming that familiar tune Anchors Aweigh!

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