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Pilots


ISSUE:  Summer 1982
I have spent my life
   in a foolish, evil, and crazy manner
of false alarms, chasing the remuda
 off the runway with a spade, lying about my feelings
and finally in the bunker of the double-log root cellar
moving the cartons of Coke to get at the dead raccoon,
 an envelope with the love letter extracted from it,
heard the ultimate insult: the supply plane, an anthem
 curving around the ridge on one wing,
      saw it in my mind
greasing itself in with a splash over its nose across the
 pasture,
the cabin girls rushing out, bobbing up and down,
   the passengers of a wrecked ship
     about to be rescued from the waves,
while grinning in his seat the pilot passes out
   transistor radios, letters from their boyfriends, the
   fruitcakes
that at night in the dystrophic kerosene light
    of the big cabin they waltz around with.
Nevertheless when I get home it’s good
  to see that civilization is much the same.
My truant friends who ran south to Lake Tlaxcala,
following the herds of flamingos streaking through their
  heads
  are back early, finding the water polluted,
 the Indians malnourished but uncaring.
And now all day they sit outside their Quonset hut
  in this unusual heat beneath their one half
 of a rigged parachute, in their jerry-built shade
with the faraway look of a couple discovering itself
    still in love though long married
while in a tear over their blessed heads
    enough blue sky to wink at flaps away.

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