Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, 1994

While we shuffle out the blast
We shovel out the last
Our ashes the swine of the faeces in the kerosene burns
We shit upon plywood 8-holers in conexes
The snipers like clouds of angry gnats.

Look in the burn-barrel my friends
For as I wander, you will find us there
For have we shat our hearts
And any pat-a-puppy-on-the-head fell
2 inches flat
Into our soldier souls turned to chicken scat

but would that we could
kick out a turd at the squat
but the food’s too bindery and well,
it’s just too fucking hot

Hands that would hold are lost in the smoke
Lips that would kiss have dried, swoll and broke

Feet that would jump for joy
a either-girl any-boy
remain tarmac-flat

Fingers that would a-run through glory blonder
are a-pocketed like the steward’s stare
there are pockets that serve as lockets
there are socks that serve as box
there are belts that cinch and give not an inch
and this or those are only fatigues
from 2 nights full of insolent dreams
where air pumps wheeze
we die not by shot but by degrees

it is hard to say “no.”
as it is hard to go with the flow
at family barbecues and the kids running to and fro
and dogs asleep in their scratch-out holes
where they too shall one day go to die

one summer night
while the owners play their cards and 
drink their bourbon and
smoke their pall malls

to die where newer dogs lie
while laughing stars fill the night sky
with crosses of nails and wire
left to only you and I to clench fists around dog tags
an eye for an eye

so the do-si-do

and we are ashes one-to-one,
from the burn-barrel and
the barbecue

so the do-si-do

dogs and boys all gone to die
to ring around the rosie
to pocket anthraxed posies
to all fall down
to all fall down

their ribs rest among ashes

so we do-si-do

and ever alert for flashes
for applications of force
for ventilations for training.

for exculpations

skip to my lou

at the kiddie pool
the slip, the slide


the everything like a rock inside
he is a walking geode

promenade your partner

his is a stride gone too wide for the walk this side
there are prime cuts to look inside
a table to be set and spirits with blood yet left to be let

“oh look here comes the letting”
moments too soon too near

a dog sleeping unto death under the air conditioner vent
as if
as if
he the elephant

while they are playing cards and trumps and tricks
while coals and sun do reasonably set

all this within a fence or two
all this within a conex, a conex built for two

a conex, a conex we all fall down

while in the heat human voices wake us and we drown

and the wars they are all deserts
it is a sechedor, there sir, in the door, knock yourself out

a half-empty, rather half-full bottle and a fully prepaid whore
go now,
go now,
before come ashes those cooling coals

go west young man
go forward my son
and, well, knock  yourself out

as likely a sleep while snake in tree
snake says lisping

“i’m a lover not a fighter”

while pretty trees are a-glow with asps
those skills are perishable
you weaken by the day of their not applied
“Charlie really does get stronger every day in the bush
every day in the crouching jungle


the humpings gone
unnoticed but spat upon nonetheless
“yours is no disgrace”
to lie with dogs dead as logs
in summer skies with lightning
like the fingers of the cancer
bone-broke and slip-wrench cut
to sleep perchance to die

between the bottle-ass brothels, the
gap-tooth chatty whores
where winter rangers with their winter black fingers
a-split like my sleeping soldier’s lips
the salt trails up & down his back
the blood into his boots
the “fuck, this pressure’s a heart attack.”

and these are the intersecting planes
the khyber pass
the port of prince
the family straits
and texas, nineteen-seventy-nine.

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