Part 1

A rocking chair
gooey with dust
of many greasy years,
and surrounded by
piles of old photos
of ghost-eyed ancestors
leering out with stone faces
from their
long-forgotten frontiers.

He makes soup
in a dirty kitchen
and carves a way
through his memories,
his family trees,
and his jugs of water.

Dull and dusty
Medals and plaques
of World War II
hang above crusted
old magazines full
of conservative pundits'

Reclining creakily into the chair
onto its moldy old cushion
he turns on an ancient TV set.

It fizzles to life
illuminating the darkness
of his tiny living room.
He slowly rocks
as his soup cools
with wisps of steam,
and remembers the bombs

He is again
in the cockpit
of a navy bomber
Japanese warships.
He remembers his friends
bursting into fiery death
above the waves.

As he sips his soup,
he remembers his grandmother
dead now for fifty years.
Her ghost lingering,
and reminding him
to live under an undying
lineage of obligation.

He rocks as the television speaks
reiterating decades old fears
about communists and immigrants,
to guard against which
he buried a fortune
under this little shack
and sat.

Part 2

I was then
dream driving
past handlebars
and broken chains
onward with
stereo headphones
and mind blasted
in seasick vibrations.

The old man was dead
and to please his jar of ashes
as he echoed in our memory,
I wore a pair
of black slacks
among the still living
distant relations
around a plate
covered in half-size
bland sandwiches
and engaged in awkward

The old man slept
as smoke into the sky,
vaporized water,
and heat.
Only a pile of dust remained
to be returned
to the dirt.

His uniforms
hung in the breezeway,
his medals polished
for the first time
in 30 years.
I looked through
(for the first time)
a vast collection
of dramatic photos
of war planes over the Pacific
and his dusty flight log of battles.
(God, he saved everything)

His life
in its entirety,
his story.
No longer an aging man,
in a toppling shack
but for that day,
a timeless hero

Awakening open
a doorway to a cavern
full of pathways
and labyrinths
where his gentle laughter
still travels
in the resonant

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