a poem by
It would have been all the same had he talked & talked & talked,
To a sheepherd, policeman, shoe-shine boy, archbishop, circus-
acrobat or cardsharp, photographer, conductor, bank clerk,
plumber or housewife.
Talked of Gleason, Callas, heroin, Rosenquist. He talked about his marriage to Fiona M, next the affair with the Shred heiress,
Talked of a piece of shrapnel got while in the fox-hole; gotten as he read from a slender volume: poetry he'd pulled from the side pocket, from a man who was dead.
The body prepared for the trip to a morgue; the morgue of this war, his war
a counting house near the lines, totaling the mayhem, the drifting of souls
heading for annihilation anyway they can.
He talked & talked & talked. The casualties became statistics
proving the productivity of explosion, the cult of violently expanding gases,
the number of bombs per casualty, cost efficiencies and deaths per trigger pulled.
Warriors. Not a scrap of difference talked & talked & talked.
Bestowing a smile, kept on talking; half an hour later
we were in Tacoma.