I asked him about his limp

We had become close very quickly

Preparing to ship out overseas

He began slowly

“I was in the Navy

Stationed overseas

Running with this young girl

She was kneeling on the bed one afternoon saying,

Fottermi me cazzo”

I was…in an altered state

She had been eating Fritos

There were crumbs stuck around her mouth

I couldn’t do it

And told her so

The next day

The next afternoon

Hanging out on the street corner outside a bar

With a couple of my navy chums

This guy walks up, pulls out a 9mm and says this is from Marie

He shoots me twice in one knee and once in the other”

His voice trails off

“I spent six-months in the VA hospital having my knees rebuilt”

He was still smiling as he spoke

Preparing to go to sea




He was drunk

Seventy-two years of age

Still shipping

If he had not been drunk I do not think he would have told me the story

But, maybe he would have

People tend to tell me things

“I was riding around Oregon with my wife on a Harley Davidson

I had just finished my second tour in Vietnam

We ducked into this back alley bar for beers and a bite

A one-time middleweight contender


We began to have words

I was still packing a government issued .45

I said, “I cannot listen to this shit.”

And got up to go to the men’s room

I knew he was coming

He rose to follow me and my wife grabbed his arm saying,

‘Please do not go in there.’

He shrugged her off

There were saloon type doors to the restroom

I had opened my coat

I heard the doors slam open behind me, and pulled and turned at the same time

He was coming so fast I did not have time to get the piece all the way up

I tripped off a round right before he hit me

It clipped the big artery between his groin and his leg

He bled to death in the urinal

I said he grabbed the gun

He had a long history of messing people up

I was cleared of all charges




An oil slick in a crystal clear blue and white wake

As the tanker goes about its business

Trash…this big slick of trash

In the middle of the dead calm insulted ocean

As the freighter cleans house

Darkness in the water, darkness in the sky

Distant muffled explosions

Drifting across the water

We pause to listen

To the dropping of bombs


Collateral damage

Innocent lives

Young and old

Men and women


He looked at me

“If somebody is up there

Looking down on us

They are shaking their head and saying,

Complete and utter barbarians.”

The year’s fly by

His young face looks at me

“It is not like that,

It does not mean I have any responsibility for her

Or towards her”

She knows this

I agreed

“The responsibility is not to her

Or for her

The responsibility is to you

For yourself”

I smile knowing someday he will know

The true gift

Is possession of a heart overflowing with love

The silent one watches from left field

Watches with a slow smile and warm eyes

Finally, he chimes in as his smile broadens lighting up the room,

Warmth and affection in his ageless eyes


“You…” pointing at me… “You really are getting old.”