Time and the Tide   Wednesday, September 09, 2015

My post this week is a self-indulgence, devoting the issue to a complete version of Time and  the Tide which started as a book, then became a series, then, as they do on TV when they run out of inspiration, became a mini-series.

It became a mini-series after the 12th installment when I realized that I had created characters who deserved much better than I am capable of  giving them,, characters, that I think are good for at least one, and maybe three or four novels which I am not competent to write. So, before it got too embarrassing I ended it with 13th installment with  about as definitive an ending as I can imagine.

I include four photos, including the one below I had intended as a cover for the book I was thinking of when I started. The photos are meant to be emblematic of the times I write about. They are family photos incorporated into the text as illustration having nothing to do with the characters in the story who are entirely fictional.

So, just  imagine from  this point forward that you are  reading a book (a very shot one).
















Time and the Tide

Allen Itz







Contents

****1934****

****1937****

****1939****

****1940****

****1941****

****1942****

****1943****

****1944****

****1945****

****1946****

****1948****

****1950****

****2020****










1934 

Alcatraz becomes a federal prison...
Nazi Germany passes the "Law of Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring...
Over 10,000 die in Indian earthquake...
First Jewish immigrant ship breaks the English blockade of Palestine...
418 Lutheran ministers arrested in Germany...
First high school auto driving course offered in Pennsylvania...
Great Dustbowl storms crass U. S. prairies...
Okaloosa, Iowa, becomes first U.S. city to fingerprint its citizens...
Bela Bartok's"Enchanted Deer" premiers...

--------------------

almost unnoticed
the Aryan Councils
meet,
drummers
prepare to beat
their savage 
drums

--------------------

Fifteen years old, she leaves school, marries a Canadian sailor. Together they live happily by the sea.

Many miles away and two years older, he plays high school baseball. An all-round athlete, he stutters when anxious, but, tall, dark and handsome, the girls in the small town where he lives do not care.

The world has not yet come to their doorstep.









1937 

Howard Hughes sets transcontinental air record...
Second Stalin purge trial, 17 sentenced to death...
DuPont  patents nylon...
U.S. Steel raises worker pay to $5 a day...
First state contraceptive clinic opens in North Carolina...
Gas explosion in school in New London, Texas, kills 294...
Fritz Zwicky coins the term "supernova"...
Spinach growers in Crystal City, Texas, erect statue to Popeye...
Debut of Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd...
First commercial flight across the Pacific...
"Gone With the Wind" wins Pulitzer Prize...
Hindenburg explodes o landing, killing 36...
Police kill 10 strikers at Republic Steel...
Amelia Earhart disappears over the Pacific...
Buchenwald concentration camp  opens...
China declares war on Japan...
In a secret meeting, Hitler informs his military leaders of his intention to  go to war...
Nazi exhibition, "The Eternal Jew," opens in Munich...
Walt Disney premiers "Snowwhite and the Seven Dwarfs," the first full-length animated movie...

--------------------

Heigh-ho Heigh-ho
the urge to purge
surges
America's most beautiful
pilot
disappears
barbed wire around
a new summer camp
merit badges
for killing
Jews

--------------------

A widow now, with a son who grows rambunctious and wild, living with relatives as a part-time housekeeper, decorating cakes at a bakery, her life promises little more.

Still many miles away, he is a high school graduate, his father's business taken by the bank, his sister home from college, never to return - the Great  Depression sucks life from opportunity and ambition. He applies for work with the Work Progress Administration, but does not get called. He plays semi-pro baseball, loses an eye during pre-game warm-up. 

The shadows of war clouds darken, but noticed still only in passing.









1939

Frieda Wunderlich elected first woman dean of a U. S. graduate school...
Daily newspaper comic strip "Superman" debuts...
30,000 killed by earthquake in Chile...
First experiment in splitting of a nuclear atom...
Filming begins on "Gone With the Wind"...
Germany occupies Czechoslovakia...
7,000 Jews flee German occupied Lithuania...
Spanish Civil War ends, the Fascist prevail...
Membership in Hitler Youth becomes obligatory...
Marian Anderson sings before 75,000 at Lincoln Memorial...
 "The Grapes of Wrath" is published...
Dixie Clipper completes first commercial plane flight to Europe...
Nazis close last Jewish enterprises...
Frank Sinatra makes his recording debut...
"The Wizard of Oz" premiers...
Netherlands mobilizes...
Hitler orders  extermination of mentally ill...
 First paper to deal with "black holes" is published...
Germany invades Poland, WWII begins...
Soviet Union invades Poland...
Reinhard Heydrich meets n Berlin to discuss final solution for Jews...
Birdbaths installed in Union Square...
Assassination of Hitler attempted, fails...
USSR invades Finland...
Montgomery Ward introduces the ninth reindeer, Rudolph...

--------------------

Frank
sings and Dorothy notices
she's not in Kansas
anymore
the world order
crumbles
but Christmas is saved
in America
by a reindeer with a very, very
shiny nose

--------------------

She works,  sees to her son, walks to the movies on shapely legs tanned in the sub-tropic sun, her short skirt swishing, and me along the sidewalk grow silent and watchful as she passes.  She is alone, lonely, but shy, withdrawn, does not want what the men ask for with their eyes.

He drives a wrecker truck,  picks up the dead and dying along icy hill country roads. finds a truck and trailer one night, overturned, beautiful white horses lying dead across the road,, the owner sits on a rock, weeping, beloved horses, his circus act dead, without his horses he is nothing.

A school in auto repair opens. Seeing white horses dead and bloody red in his dreams, the wrecker driver decides to be a mechanic.


















1940

FCC hears the first transmission of FM radio with clear, static-free signal...
Mass execution of Poles by the Germans...
Britain's first WWII rationing of butter, bacon, and sugar...
Sergei Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" premiers...
Finland surrenders to Russia...
Mussolini brings Italy into Hitler's war...
Germany invades Norway and Denmark...
Dance hall fire kills 198 on Mississippi...
Olympics are cancelled...
Winston Churchill becomes British prime minister...
First German bombs fall on England...
German troops occupy Amsterdam, Brussels, and Belgium...
Britain and France begin evacuation of Dunkirk...
American Negro Theater organizes...
German forces enter Paris and France surrenders...
"Brenda Starr," first cartoon strip by a woman,debuts...
Bugs Bunny debuts in "Wild Hare"...
The blitz begins the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombardment...
Black leaders protest discrimination in U.S. armed forces...
First Abbot and Costello film is released...
FDR wins unprecedented third term...
The walling off of the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw begins...

--------------------

who's on first
no longer a question
as war loads
the bases

Bugs
should a turned left
at Albuquerque
and the Finns admit
they're finished

the Italians
put the pasta
on to boil

David's star is
put behind a wall
and pinned to every
Jewish lapel

----------

He's come south, a drag-line mechanic helper, keeping the big machines running, building flood control levees on the river. Snakes, mosquitoes and mud - he will remember best the mud that cakes his boots so it's hard to walk.

He meets her at the bakery, spending part of his small paycheck on a cake for his landlords who have become good friends, a middle-aged woman and her middle-aged husband, a jazz trumpeter.

He watches her as she decorates the cake, the graceful wrap of her hand as she squeezes the frosting sack to make curlicues and red roses in a nest of green ivy that hangs across the cake like real ivy on a fence at home.

She rings up he charge on the register and takes his money.

"I'm Sidney," he says, "you can call me Sid."

She smiles, shyly, looks into his eyes and see not the hungry eyes of the men on the street, but a friendly smile instead, a friendly smile on a handsome face, a tall man with dark hair, long and swept back.

"I'm Mona," she says.









1941

The Japanese Imperial Navy attacks the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, 2,304 people killed...
FDR gives his "Day of Infamy" speech to Congress and war on Japan is declared...
Germany and Italy declare war on the United States...

--------------------
the world's misery
crosses both oceans,
becomes America's misery as well

the righteous fight
is begun

--------------------

Sid joins the lines at the enlistment centers, but is deemed unfit to serve because of his lost eye. Determined to serve, he seeks to join the See-bees, construction force for the Navy, but is again refused.

He is distraught. Mona is relieved.









1942


Rose Bowl played in North Carolina due to Japanese threat...
Japanese  troops occupy Manila...
Nazi officials confer to plan the extermination of Europe's Jews - the "Final Solution"...
Count Basie records  "One O'clock Jump"...
First U.S. force in Europe goes ashore in Northern Ireland...
"Archie" comic book debuts...
FDR orders internment of all west-coast Japanese-Americans...
American  defense of Philippines  collapses, MacArthur ordered out...
First day of the Battle of Java Sea - 13 U.S. warships sunk to 2 Japanese...
First cadets graduate from Tuskegee flying school...
Belzec Concentration Camp  opens with 30,000 Polish Jews...
FDR orders men between 45 and 64 to register for non-military duty...
U.S. and Filipino forces overwhelmed by Japanese  at Bataan...
"Stars and Stripes" newspaper for U.S. armed forces starts...
First U.S. aerial bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities...
First  food rationing in U.S. - beginning with sugar...
1,500 Jews gassed at Auschwitz...
Bing Crosby records "White Christmas"...
Japan's first major defeat in the Battle of Midway...
German army defeated at El-Alamein North  Africa...
Anne Frank begins her diary...
Dwight Eisenhower appointed commander of U.S. forces in Europe...
Execution of Jews by the thousands proceeds across Nazi-occupied Europe...
Tweety Bird debuts...
Casablanca premiers...
First self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction occurs...


--------------------


the noose
of apocalypse
is tied
the gallows
prepared
--------------------

Sid is free of the snakes and mosquitoes and mud, transferred from the levees into town to work in the maintenance shop. He knows it is a temporary job, open because the worker who held it before is a soldier now, training for battles to come. The job will be his again upon his return. Sid is still disappointed that he can't join the fight, but pleased, at least, that he has freed another to fight n his place.

He and Mona have made friends among the pilot trainees at the air-base on the edge of town. Young men who will be in the midst of murderous air battles over the Pacific and, soon, over Europe. But for now, they are just young men with the temporary luxury of having their young wives with them.

Sid and Mona are the only two unmarried among the crowd. Lonely and alone in a strange place before they met, they are good friends now.

Just good friends, they say, but they both know, even if they don't want to say it yet, that just friendship is not the end for them. They see a future they very quietly imagine, for now.

















1943


William Hastie, aid to the secretary of war, resigns in protest of segregation in the military...
Frankfurters replaced by Victory Sausages (mixture of meat and soy meal)...
Hitler declares "total war"...
The Pentagon, world's largest office building is completed...
U.S. bans pre-sliced bread to reduce bakery demand for metal parts...
Duke Ellington plays his first concert at Carnegie Hall...
General Eisenhower selected to command all allied forces in Europe...
German "White Rose" student group hangs anti-Hitler banner, are caught and beheaded...
German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad, a turning point in the for in Europe...
New volcano erupts in a farmer's cornfield in Mexico...
"Porgy and Bess" opens on Broadway...
Jimmy Durante and Garry Moore debut on radio...
"Oklahoma" premiers...
Bergan-Belsen concentration camp forms...
Postal zone  system invented...
Zoot Suit  Riots - Los  Angeles mob attacks everyone who appears Hispanic...
Income tax withholding becomes law...
Race riots begin in Texas, spread to other states...
Allied forces invade Sicily...
Soviets defeat Germany in greatest battle in history, 6,000 tanks involved in the fight...
RAF bombs Hamburg (20,000) dead...
Mussolini resigns...
John F. Kennedy's PT-boat 109 is sunk...
Mussolini captured by Allies, rescued by German forces, starts resistance movement...


--------------------

tide begins to turn
but even turning
tides
are deadly
the dead wash
our with the retreating surf
as new dead
wash in with each bloody surge
the march of tides and time
is not over
--------------------

Sid and Mona join his landlord friends, Matrice and Harry for a night across the border in Reynosa, Havana on the Rio Grande it's called, where U.S. dollars buy the finest in Mexican cuisine and drinks, and floor shows and magicians and where, in the finest of the clubs, El Leon del Noche, an African lion  pads through the restaurant on a leash.

And an orchestra that plays the latest in American big band swing. The band knows Harry and he always brings his trumpet so that he can sit in. On this night he plays the most beautiful version of Stardust Sid and Mona ever heard.

The sit close at the table, holding hands, breathless in the thick Mexican night. The change in their life they had imagined finally comes, quietly, at a small table in a Reynosa nightclub. They found their song and with their song, each other.

Matrice watches it happen, smiles, winks at Harry. Their conspiracy realized, their plan come together. 









1944

Ralph Bunch,, first Negro official in the State Department appointed...
Eisenhower takes command of Allied invasion force  in London...
First jazz concert at Metropolitan Opera, with Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw...
RAF drops 2,300  bombs on Berlin; 447 German bombers attack London...
Leningrad liberated in  880  days with 600,000 killed...
Batman and Robin premier in newspapers...
 Mount Vesuvius erupts...
Jimmy Stewart flies his  12th combat  mission leading attack on Berlin...
D Day, 150,000 Allied troops land on Normandy beach...
15 U.S. aircraft carriers attack Japanese on Marianas...
Congress creates the CIA...
FDR signs GI Bill of Rights...
First  Japanese Kamikaze attack...
First German V-2 rocket hits Great Britain...
U.S. retakes Guam...
Anne Frank is arrested, sent to Auschwitz...
Smokey Bear debuts...
Charles DeGaulle walks the Champs-Elysee after Paris liberation...
George H.W. Bush ejects from his burning airplane...
Copeland's "Appalachian Spring" premiers...
Auschwitz  begins gassing inmates...
FDR wins 4th term...
Glenn Miller lost  over English Channel...
--------------------

American
string of pearls
regained in the Pacific
American
stringer of musical pearls
lost in Europe
as
Mr. Smith bombs
Berlin
the fire  of 
explosions
manufactured and natural
light
global nights
the bat signal
calls
on some such night
for even more heroes
to rise
and fall for the cause
of morality's light

--------------------


Mona's son, Vincent (first called "Spud" by his uncle and now Spud to everyone but his mother) is ten years old now, prone to mischief and a worry to his mother.

He does not  take well to the arrival of a new man in Mona's life and misbehaves when Sid is around. Sid is not a patient man, Mona knows, and has no experience with children. She worries that as Spud tries to push Sid away, he will succeed. He acts like he wants Mona to choose between the two of them.

"Why do we need him," Spud asks, "why can't you just make him go away."

Sid worked hard to gain the boy's trust, but nothing seemed to make any difference until a Saturday afternoon at Sam Hill Park when Spud fell into a canal that flowed  through the south end of the park. He could not swim and it was Sid who heard his screams for help. Jumping into the water fully clothed, he pulled the boy out...

His best pants and shoes ruined, Sid held the boy as he shivered form the chill of the water and cried and told Sid how sorry he was to cause such a problem. But Sid quieted him, holding him with a tenderness Mona had not seen before, looking for the first time like a father to her son.

That night, after Spud had been put to bed, they went back to the park, alone this time. On a blanket spread on the large shelf of a flat rock, under a pecan tree, they made love for the first time. Naked in summer moonlight, with long soulful kisses and slow smooth caresses, gently rocking as they were for the first time joined.









1945

Pepe  LePew debuts...
German forces retreat in Battle of the Bulge...
Prokofiev's "5th Symphony" premiers in Moscow...
Every Amsterdammer gets three kilos of sugar beets...
Red Army continues to liberate concentration camps as it advances west...
Grand Rapids becomes first U.S. city to fluoridate its water...
1,000 American Flying Fortresses drop 3,000 tons of bombs on Berlin...
Andrews sisters hit number one on the charts with "Rum and Coca Cola"...
Yalta agreement signed by FDR, Churchill and Stalin...
U.S. Marines raise flag on Iowa Jima...
Federico Garcia Lorca's "La Casa" premiers in Buenos Aires...
First International Woman's Day observed...
Firebombing of Tokyo in nighttime B-29 raid, more than 100,000 killed, mostly civilians...
"Going My Way" with Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman wins best movie Oscar...
U.S. 7th Army crosses the Rhine...
"Glass Menagerie" premiers...
U.S. soldier liberate Buchenwald...
FDR dies, Truman sworn in as 33rd president...
Red Army begins Battle of Berlin...
Mussolini captured by Italian partisans and hung...
Unconditional surrender of Germany to the Allies and V-E Day is announced...
Herman Goering is captured by U.S. army; Heinrich Himmler commits suicide...
The longest version of Abbot and Costello's "who's on first" in film "The Naughty Nineties"...
The war in the Pacific continues, island by island, with massive causalities on both sides...
 The Japanese ignore sever surrender ultimatums...
U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima; three days later drops second bomb on Nagasaki...
V-J Day - Japan surrenders unconditionally...
Branch Rickey signs Jackie Robinson...
Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam independence from France...
--------------------

war  clouds
part
leave broke and bloody
lands
open to the sky
a time to beat
weapons
into plowshares,
a time to replant
and rebuild
but, oh,
the weapons are so more fearsome
than ever
before
the power of forever burning
stars 
in the hands of mortal
man
and already
on the horizon
new storms can be seen forming
peace
a fragile
and
forever
a passing
moment
in the hands of
temporary
man
--------------------


Talk of marriage begins.

Matrice and Harry offer a larger apartment, enough for Mona and Sid and Spud, and maybe another when the time comes.

Sid's father is an open, approving man, happy for his son's chance at happiness, wherever he finds it. Sid's mother does not like the idea of her son marrying a widow woman - especially one with a son going on 12-year old.

Her family is just pleased that she has someone beside  them to depend on.

Sid and Spud spend long Saturdays together; sometimes take in a cowboy movie, while Mona works at the bakery.

Life flows around them in slow and gentle ripples.

















1946

ENIAC, first large U. S.  computer completed...
"Show Boat" opens...
First meeting of the United Nations General Assembly...
"Lucky" Luciano pardoned for his wartime service and deported to Italy...
Juan Peron elected President of Argentina...
Winston Churchill makes "Iron Curtain" speech...
First U.S. rocket leaves Earth atmosphere...
Greece holds its first election after WWII...
Tokyo Telecommunication Engineering (later renamed Sony) is founded with 20 employees...
First hour long entertainment TV show premiers on NBC...
"Annie Get Your Gun" premiers with Ethel Merman in the lead...
Truman seizes control of nation's railroads to delay a strike...
Patent filed in U.S. for H-Bomb...
First  Bikini bathing  suit  displayed in Paris...
Supreme Court bans discrimination in interstate travel...
U.S. tests atom bomb on Bikini atoll...
Truman orders desegregation of all U.S. forces...
"Animal Farm" published...
First mobile long-distance car-to-car telephone call...
Herman Goering sentenced to death, commits suicide in his cell...
"The Iceman Cometh" premiers...
Camera on-board a V-2 rocket takes first picture of the earth from space...
John F. Kennedy elected to the U.S. House...
"Best Years of Our Lives" premiers...
Led by Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese attack French forces in Hanoi...
"It's a Wonderful Life" premiers...
Truman officially proclaims the end of WWII...

--------------------

a time of
endings

a time of
quiet

a time of planting
in fields
plowed by bombardments
of war

a time
when first buds
of the future
push
through torn and bloody soil
of pastures reaching
for life

a time when
all the forces of good and bad
gather
for the next round
of clashing 
ambitions

a time when blood rises
throbbing
toward that
day

--------------------

Wedding day at the courthouse.

Harry stands for Sid; Matrice for Mona. Spud stands between them as the vows are said.

Sid and Mona have to work, so their honeymoon short, Saturday night in a small motel on Boca Chica Beach. Spud stays with Harry and Matrice, so they are alone.

To the sounds of tides brushing in and our over sand glowing white under a brightly jeweled sky, they make  love for the first time as man and wife.

Monday they go back to work. Monday night they settle for the first time into their new apartment, the first night together for the three of  them. Spud falls asleep quickly. Sid and Mona, in their own bedroom, celebrate  their homecoming with the quiet passion of the newly-wed.









1948

Channel 13 (PBS) in New York begins...
First Supermarket opens in the United Kingdom...
First country music TV show, "Midwestern Hayride" premiers...
"Treasure of Sierra Madre"  opens...
First tape recorder sold...
Mahatma Gandhi assassinated...
Mao's army occupies Yenan...
First newsreel telecast shown of NBC...
Communist Party takes control of Czechoslovakia...
Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public school is unconstitutional...
Congress passes Marshall Aid Act...
Idaho  Senator Taylor arrested in Alabama for using a door marked "for Negroes"...
Israel  declares independence from British...
Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq & Saudi Arabia troops attack Israel...
Milton Berle Show premiers...
Babe Ruth's final farewell at Yankee Stadium three days before he dies...
USSR begins Berlin blockade; U.S./British airlift begins...
Ed Sullivan premiers on TV...
Indians sign Satchel Paige...
Alcoholics Anonymous founded...
Professional wrestling  debuts on prime-time TV...
"Candid Camera" debuts on TV...
Truman elected on his own in an upset...
T.S.Eliot wins Nobel Prize for Literature...
Hopalong Cassidy and "Kukla, Fran & Ollie" debut on TV...

--------------------

peace
and prosperity

soldiers home from war
take wives
make  children
go to college and buy little houses
where a new middle class 
is born

there are shadows
but always there are shadows

but soon everyone
will have a TV
and a new culture
a new language as old accents
are shed
north south east west
regions  meld
into 
peace and 
prosperity and

shadows?

only the black and white
shadows
of  television
of 
Uncle Miltie, of
Gorgeous George
and Wild Red Berry disturb
the night

and any who don't have the shadows,
want them,
Sears
Monkey Ward 
low down, easy payments
too...

--------------------

Sid lost his job when  the soldiers came home, but found another one right away. Gets paid ever Friday, cashes his check at the supermarket and takes all but his small weekly allowance home to Mona who makes sure there are groceries in the cupboard for the four, yes, the four of them, to eat.

With little Annie just a year old, Mona works at home, bakes cakes, makes corsages out of old silk hose for high school dances. Helps all she can.

Spud is fourteen, still not a bad kid, but stubborn and  reckless and impulsive. Teachers do  not  like his  way or his inattention or his sass. He fails at  everything but football.

Money so tight, but still Mona agrees to a hard decision - a private school in another city where, sponsored by their church, Spud can go. It is a place of discipline and accountability. Sid believes that is all his son needs and Spud, who still  sees  his hero in his adopted father, agrees to go.

Mona weeps as she sews name tags on his clothes and packs a large trunk for him. Sid takes a day off from work so that can all go to the school together, so that boy doesn't have to get off a bus all alone, so that this separation, their first, is done together.

It  seems such an empty house that Sid and Mona return to, silence a  presence  of laughter missing. Annie cries for her brother as Mona cries for her son. Sid sits quietly in his chair, mourning the responsibilities of fatherhood.









1950

Now the world's second nuclear power, the Soviet Union flexes its muscle...
Ho Chi Minh begins offensive against French troops in Indo China...
Britain recognizes the Communist government of China...
The Great Brinks Robbery makes off with nearly three million in cash and securities...
First TV broadcast of  "What's My Line"...
Senator McCarthy charges there are 205 communists in the State Department...
Walt Disney releases "Cinderella"...
Dylan Thomas arrives in New York for his first U.S. poetry reading tour...
Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca premier "Your Show of Shows"...
First woman officer assigned to U.S. naval vessel...
Silly Putty invented...
Bob Hope's first TV appearance...
"Peter Pan" premiers...
Dutch police seize condoms...
North Korea invades the South, captures Seoul, Truman orders American forces into the conflict...
U.S. and North Korean forces clash for the first time...
The "Law of Return" guarantees all Jews the right to live in Israel...
"Sunset Boulevard" premiers...
U.S. gives  military aid to anti-communist regime in South Vietnam...
Earthquake in India kills 20,000 to 30,000...
Beetle Bailey debuts...
South Korean troops enter North Korea...
Charlie Brown debuts in "Peanuts" precursor...
U.S. forces invade North Korea, occupy North Korean capital,  Pyongyang...
U.S. forces approach Chinese border; China  responds with massive counter-attack...
Puerto Rican nationalists attempt to  assassinate Truman...
William Faulkner wins Nobel  Prize for Literature...

--------------------

not a war
for U.S. at first,
plenty war
for those dying
cities falling
and more people
dying
on both sides

a line on a map

thousands of lines
on thousands of maps 

a  time of redrawing lines
making obsolete
maps
of failing empires

another war starts
as relics of French empire totter

this one starts  also
without U.S. barely noticed,
but a tar baby war
that inexorably draws us, three generations
of little tar baby wars
pend
stealthily
growing like the tiger cub
that grows its claws and its fangs
until they are nobody's baby
any more

the big one, the-end-of-all-wars,
the end of the world that
keeps us awake at night,
the bomb-shelter big one, the -duck-and-cover 
big one, Armageddon passed
like a low hand at poker, too terrible
for anyone to win at it
so
all 
bluff and pass

----------

Spud is 16, going on 17, back at regular school, impulsiveness contained, mischief restrained, but unhappy. Seeking an outlet, he lies and enlists.

It's his war and he doesn't want to miss it like his dad missed his.

It is done.

Annie cries as he leaves. Mona cries as he leaves. Sid does not approve, will not acknowledge his departure,  will not shake his hand.

Nevertheless,  Spud is in the army now, and off to fight his war.


















2020

President Trump resigns, celebrate rapprochement with Russia...
The former president celebrates his new casino on the Volga - Trump-Putin Towers...
Vice President  Kardashian takes the oath of  office as President of the United States...
The end of history,  as prophesied 40 years earlier, finally arrives...

--------------------


history 
becomes the fool;
the court jester in a pork pie hat
with fluff-ball bells on strings
that bob and bounce
with every faltering step,
the Ministry of Silly Walks sets the pace
as reason limps to the sidelines,
"take me out,coach," the hero pleads,
"take me out"

space alien, tinfoil hats
and pyramids beneath your bed,
the force be gone
and already forgotten...

----------------

My name is Spud, or used to be, but nobody's called me that for years.

The fellas down at the VFW call me Colonel, my rank after Khe Sanh, the rank I kept for the  next 20 years. A wise-ass who was right too often, a career killer in Uncle's army.  Sid was right way back, when he told me I didn't have the discipline to be a soldier.

But I did all right,  fought my wars well, got my campaign ribbons, got my medals, just never got  the rank I deserved.

Sid, well he finally forgave me for joining up  without talking to him, then got mad  all over again when I  re-enlisted for Vietnam. He's dead now, a long time ago, a car wreck on his way to work. That same damned of job, never got the promotions he deserved, never the pay raises he deserved, years of watching lesser men take the rewards he earned.

Mona  died about ten years ago, in a home, alone, I'm afraid. I was in Europe, then Asia, the Mid-East for all the sand wars and just never paid attention. Annie was in California,  another never-to-be movie star serving eggs and burgers at Denny's. She never paid much attention either. Neither of us,  I guess, came to much good as children.

At least  neither of us made the mistake of  trying to be parents.

It's a helluva world and a helluva country. I figure I'd be fighting another war soon if I wasn't  so old. Too bad for all the young fellas and girls who'll soon be starting their string of wars to fight.

What can I tell you, an old soldier playing dominoes and drinking beer at the VFW. 

It's a helluva world.




*********************************************************************




I'll be back next  week with the regular version of "Here and Now"

In the meantime, I sell books.

These, specifically, available wherever eBooks are sold.






´╗┐Poetry
New Days & New Ways


Places and Spaces
 



Always to the Light






Goes Around Comes Around




Pushing Clouds Against the Wind





And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio




Seven Beats a Second






Fiction


Sonyador - The Dreamer








                                                                  Peace in our Time


  
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
  



 


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