this November poem almost missed the blog

the grim reaper

woke up around midnight
with a full bladder
and a pain racing in my arm

yesterdays’ clothes left hanging
on the door took on the shape
of the grim reaper –
waiting for my passage
through the valley of the shadow

got up, took a leak, popped
a pain pill, returned to bed
but could not sleep

another distraction topic popped
into my head – my slow 1980”s –
not a prolific decade for my writing –
at least not for stuff that sold –
I wrote plenty – but I was at sea
the whole decade, damn near:

the 1st half winning the Cold War –
confronting the Bear face-to-face –
under the water, peeking and booing,
victory at sea, a young man’s game

two years in school – studying economics,
and navigation, and operations research

the 2nd half consolidating gains from the 1st –
back at sea – finishing off the Bear

and the Beast – until we became her –
the new total domain awareness –
the only hegemony with worldwide
strike force,
and bad poetry, old style, plenty of it

in the end, power couldn’t save us
and instead, became the drug that
strung us out, the white lady
who slew our daughters and our sons –

and the bad poetry became my salvation –
and the grim reaper my Aeneas & Anchises



Author: Raymond Maxwell Librarian, archivist-in-training, retired foreign service officer and Navy veteran.

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