Many years ago, while I served in the U.S. Navy, I began to write some poetry. This was mainly to keep my mind occupied in what free time I had to myself. I was essentially away for home for the first extended amount of time in my life. It helped me to cope with missing my family, Dad, Mom, three sisters and a brother. Boot camp can be a cruel place for an eighteen-year-old lad. Eventually this poetry was transferred to some government-issued log books. From April of 1968, at the Great Lakes Training Center in Illinois, until my discharge in December of 1971, I eventually had compiled three volumes of poetry which numbered a total of 294 entries. I had dated them and noted where I was at the time of each writing.
....I recently came across the three volumes, dusty, but none the worse for the passage of almost four decades. Volume I was titled Just On My Mind And In My Heart, Vol. II, There Is More On My Mind And In My Heart, and Vol. III, Don't Go Away, For There's More On My Mind And In My Heart. Not exactly original titles I know. As I sat and read and skimmed, I realized that those volumes were actually a journal of the better part of four years of my life, four years in which I went from a frightened lad at boot camp to a man freed to pursue life. I run the gamut from love poetry to dark narratives in those volumes. Eventually, I believe I will set up another blog site and post the entire body of work with a link to this one.
....The work below was one of those dark entries, and to this day I cannot explain what I was thinking and why when I wrote this one. Also, I cannot explain why I chose this one to post before any of the others. It is unlike anything else I wrote in those years of military life.
The Sky Diver
Clouds, elevatoring by,
Suddenly, below the cotton mists,
He spun and soared.
The earth, mother's hand-made quilt
Pencil lines became ribbons,
Ribbons became traffic-charged.
Ants became vehicles.
Miniature shrubs became trees.
He was awed, breathless,
Defying, embracing the up-rushing breeze.
Now, he opened his chute;
Earth, like water rising
Elevatoring to them,
Objects rising to meet him.
An eternity of unheard scream.
A moment of painful silence.
The dull thud.
Only a fraction of time for pain.
A tell-tale crimson stain.
Earth, like draining water,
Now, soaring upward,
Traffic becoming ants, ribbons now lines.
Mother's quilt spreading below.
Elevatoring into the nether.
--June 3, 1971 - Aboard U.S.S Warrington (DD-843) Newport, R.I.