Once, I liked to recite
the place-mats from diners:
Rob Roy, Tom Collins, the dead
medicine of 1930’s cocktails.
Now I don’t bother smiling
when old radios play old songs,
when the crumbled Italian cobbler offers
a gulp of olive oil to boost your hard-on.
The great wars are over.
I know nothing of food rationing,
of headlights painted black
to fool U-Boats along the dark coast.
No dead soldiers washed up on my holiday shores.
Only a salty taste, sand grit bathing suit,
my disconnected howl from the back seat
as I learned to read from billboards,
saw the Moon Launch between cartoons on a Saturday.
Oh, black-finned Cadillac,
body of angel and hearse, bring lovers
to the dripping resin of young pine trees.
Do the Twist ‘n’ Shout
while missiles moan in silos below.
I am tired of it. Lay me down. Take me over.
Let me sit as I once did by the kitchen table,
split from the womb at the World’s Fair,
fingers stuffed with prayer.
Jon Sanborne grew up in Northport, NY, where the nearby LILCO stacks haunted his childhood imagination. After over 20 years in Brooklyn (and an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College), he currently lives in Manassas, VA.