the topography of the words used by a man who majored in beer and co-eds before dropping out of the University of Iowa, who forgot when those old time words came back from the war, they weren’t all allowed into the same diners or schools or to express their vision and etymology like other words and called it the Greatest Generation anyway
Suzi, sometimes when the right voice speaks
it gets easier to close my eyes at night and forget
that anything exists between that big letter and
the last letter. Suzi, did I ever tell you that in Belgium
I saw my first Alligator— that during the war
the forests there looked like skies peeled back
from other skies, non-earthly skies and that each night
we were drunk with drunk, one of the old timer words says,
looking up from his black coffee. Each morning
he calls out to his waitress Suzi—Suzi— . Each morning
she says: I’m not Suzi. Shifting his weight on his diner stool
reminds him of being young. Suzi, did I ever tell you about
the time Malcolm Gladwell tried to get cute with my words.
They punched him in the face. Made him eat bits of themselves.
Showed him their anchor tattoos to remind him of their divinity.
It’s because I so often think back to that scene in Saving Private Ryan,
where U.S. troops are storming Omaha and because
the airstrike that morning struck the wrong beach and they get lit
up like sitting cattle, that I have trouble reading the dictionary at night.
None of the small letters will follow their big letter.
Suzi, sometimes when the right voice speaks it gets easier
to close my eyes at night and see alligators over Belgium.