Notes from the Occupation

The following piece was presented at Jersey City Writers’ genre event – Jersey Plums Poetry Reading. Please enjoy.

 

In the late afternoon as the summer sun shines upon us
we stand in this dusty motor pool
among the Hum-vees and Sus-vees
that slumber like lions
in this valley near the Rhine.
They call this place Deutschland.
We call it Germany.

Our caps sit snug on our heads at the same angle
our sleeves are rolled to the same point mid-bicep
our pants creased with the same sharpness
and boots the same smooth black.
We linger and smoke, we laugh and joke
watching the sergeant fumble with the trailer latch.
Out tumble the tangled reams of camo nets
tent poles covered with silt, musty canvas,
dented mo-gas cans all caked with that same insistent mud.
We untangle and wash, we sort and we stack.
They call this work
and we complain with a grin
because we know the truth.

Here, in this land of Goethe and Geobbels
we are not Andrew Jackson and Sitting Bull.
We are not Henry Ford and Jim Crow.
Here, in this outpost of the American empire
we have outrun the ghosts that cry out from the past.
Here, we are kings.

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