Monday, March 28, 2011

My Woman Turns Sixty Today

My woman turns sixty today.

i have a bunch of special women in my life: wife, two daughters, mother, sister, sister-in-law, niece, and a number of friends. i have had many women in my life before now, likely more than most men.

But there is exactly one MY WOMAN, and she turns sixty today.

She doesn’t look like sixty. She is the most beautiful woman in the world for sixty, even though she has never resorted to surgery to keep her beautiful. She takes care of herself.

She is beautiful inside as well.

Although we have our differences and still disagree on numerous subjects, we fit like a glove. This fit is primarily because of her effort to put up with me.

Her ability to become friends with anyone regardless of how different they might be from her is incredible. Even more incredible is how much she cares for everyone. i particularly love her for her devotion and caring of her family and friends.

She has that feminine trait of nurturing her husband, treating him like he is a little boy. While it is irritating to be checked upon, monitored, and be worried about constantly, she does keep me on the right track in so many ways, i accept it, even though i occasionally bark about it.

I have many stories i could tell in addition to the ones i’ve already told about how lucky i am to have her, how she keeps my life funny and enjoyable, and how much i love her.

This is not to tell stories but a public declaration to simply to tell her i love her because she is and always will be my woman.

Happy birthday, Maureen. We met shortly after you turned thirty one. i hope i have another twenty-nine years to spend with you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sometimes, Everything Is Relative

SAN DIEGO – Sometimes I feel isolated in the Southwest corner, and last week was one of those times.

From here, it often appears Middle Tennessee has more calamitous weather than when I was growing up.

Perhaps Thursday’s high winds and reports of tornadoes in Lebanon impacted me.

Perhaps it is because I am growing older and memories of my home have shed bad recollections.

I do recall the large tree in our front yard being blown down in the middle of the night when my brother Joe was six months old (1949). That same storm played imp for our next door neighbors.

Back then, the empty lot north of our home on Castle Heights Avenue was the neighborhood playground. Across the lot, the Padgetts were our next door neighbors. Margaret Ann was older and sophisticated, but Martha, my sister, and I played with Beverly and Roberta almost daily. I think Margaret Ann got her sophistication from their mother, Margaret. Bob was a car dealer par excellence for whom my father had worked before setting up shop with Jim Horn Hankins.

In the mid-1950s, Rayburn and Cleo Bellar bought the lot and became our new next door neighbors, often having their grandchildren, Sandra, Dick, and Jack Lewis, stay over. They played with my sister and brother, but by then, I was too old but not sophisticated.

The 1949 storm grabbed the Padgett two-car garage (one of the few in the neighborhood), lifted it and sat it down in the next backyard. The two brand new cars in the garage were not even scratched.

I faintly remember several floods with water on the square and out of creek banks south of the square. But they seemed like part of the normal weather cycle, nothing compared to last spring’s flood.

During the past ten days, I learned to quit complaining about weather here. Lebanon weather is one reason. Visitors also influenced me.

My brother Joe, his wife Carla, and Carla’s mother and sister visited. On Wednesday when I apologized for the cold weather, they informed me I certifiably crazy. The temperature was in the high 50s as they sat poolside at the Hotel Del Coronado, a heat wave for those from the Northeast.

Last Thursday as the weather climbed back to San Diego normal for a day, Joe and I had a special time.

While the visiting women hit the hotel spa, I took Joe on a tugboat ride.

I wanted to show Joe some of the projects I was pursuing, and asked Pacific Tug Service if I could bring Joe down for a tour. My friend Steve Frailey, one of the owners, told me to bring Joe down to the pier and he would take us for ride on a tug.

Steve is one of the tug masters for the company and called in to action when necessary. So while the wind was wreaked havoc in Lebanon, we toured San Diego Bay aboard the “Harbor Commander.”

She and her smaller sister tug, the Harbor Cadet tied up to a Navy berthing barge outboard a minesweeper in the BAE shipyard. We moved the barge from the sweep to pier side next to the shipyard drydock. While we worked, Joe got to see Navy SEALS diving from helicopters and re-boarding the hovering helo above by line and hoist. Security boats shot back and forth around the bay in an area-wide training drill. Shipyard cranes loaded and unloaded. Yard workers and sailors scurried about on tasks like mice on a sinking ship.

Joe got a feel of what my previous life had been. We wished our father and Joe’s son, Zack, could have been there with us.

We often joke Joe has been a preacher and lived in the Northeast while I was in the Navy and lived in the Southwest to ensure we could be as far away from each other in all things. In fact, we have grown more alike as the years have passed. Our tugboat adventure verified our closeness.

I think that is a plus for me and so is the weather in the Southwest corner. I’ll quit complaining.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A few thoughts on "Passing"

This post interrupts my normal flow, which is, of course, continually abnormal and sporadic. It is precipitated as I sit in my daughter's living room in Austin next to the wide-open windows in March, the most wonderful time of the year in the hill country of Texas. My near four-year old grandson, Sam, holds sway over all of us, dashing around the house at un-throttled speed, making us all laugh. But this bucolic scene (which is not really bucolic at all, but expresses my feeling more than reality) gives favor to my considering my home in Lebanon, Tennessee and Sam's grandparents.

My mother and father are going through a tough time. One of their closest friends, and my eternal teacher, J.B. Leftwich, has suffered strokes, heart trouble, and now dementia in his waning days. In a moment of clarity while my father was visiting him in rehabilitation center, which it is not for J.B., only a temporary stop, J.B., or as i call him, Coach, told my father he was his best friend. My father at 96 does not have very many old friends left, and i know this is tough on him even though he will not speak of it to me.

So my joy of being with my grandson, daughter, and son-in-law, who for all practical purposes has lost the in-law on his status with me is countered by sadness.

Below are two poems i wrote several years, which reflect my reflections as i sit here in the glory of spring.

Waiting Grace

the old folks sit in the room too warm,
television images blink randomly,
the mute button silences the room
although they do not know as the hearing aids
lie on their respective tables with
paraphernalia required for the elderly;
they sit knowing the time will come soon:
waiting grace.
All is right with the world.
They and the remaining few of their generation
know how to demonstrate
waiting grace.
No threat, no fret, no fear
shows in their continence:
they do what they can and
what they can decreases perceptively almost daily,
faculties fade and with the fading,
the joys of their industry escaping slowly:
waiting grace.
They have endured the test of time when
times were harder and
simpler and
they hold to those codes of right and
simplicity and
goodness to the neighbor, friend and
to service:
waiting grace.

Lebanon, Tennessee
October 22, 2006

Going Quick

Two men, father and son,
hunched over a work bench
a number of years ago;
working on a project quietly
in the glare of the naked bulb
hanging above their heads;
they talked a bit,
focusing on the task at hand,
smiling quietly at the bond
they continued to build;
the old man with thick strong hands said,
“You know, son,
i’ve led a pretty good life,
got three good kids who have grown up well,
some good grandchildren, and
your mother;
‘bout the only thing I hope now
is when I go,
it’ll be quick.”

Bonita, California
June 7, 2008

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fiddlersburg and Billie Potts Resurrected: A Note to My Brother

the little star over the left tit.
they buried Little Billie and
no one knew in that patch of land
between the rivers,
which was
Fiddlersburg, revisited and drowned
under the auspices of TVA,

i would like to resurrect Little Billie and Fiddlersburg,
but there is no more South,
only a filmy, flimsy image of what used to be
or a caricature of used-to-be South.
and Robert Penn would insert some Italian here:

i would ponder the depth of what he wrote,
but what you see is what you get with this old sailor;
the point is (without Italian)
we strive for balance, and it never is balanced,
especially in Italy, especially in Southern Italy;
in our South, balance ain't
Southern lonesome;
it ain 't passion;
it ain't.

i may be there again,
i may be suffering enough,
touching depths of my Southern,
unbalanced male soul,
yearning for tragic,
yearning for lonesomeness.
we are the last of a breed i fear;
i wonder how many still exist,
i even wonder about you, my brother;
but we can't tell even the most intimate soul mate,
even brothers perhaps;
for to reveal the awful truth,
even to write it,
which is what it is all about, will alter it;
will take it inextricably, permanently away.
we can no longer be the tragic figure
we wish to be,
even though we've never
really figured out the tragedy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sometimes, Everything is Relative

SAN DIEGO – After sending in my column last week, I vowed to write more about Lebanon, memories and thoughts of folks back there.

It seemed to me I had been writing too much about me and the Southwest corner, and last Monday’s column read like a giant whine to me upon re-reading (except I do like the story of my wife’s black and white rainbow.

The rain, wind and cold of Vanderbilt baseball games in San Diego are now a memory to brag about, and once I thought about it, watching my team win four opening games in February made the weather a whole lot better.

Then my brother arrived with his family last weekend. I quickly learned I should not apologize for highs in the low 60s to visitors from Vermont and Massachusetts in February. My brother’s wife, mother-in-law and sister-in-law have now labeled me as certifiable crazy. My brother has had this tag on me for a long time.

The most gratifying time of the past two weeks occurred Thursday. I asked Pacific Tug Service if I could bring Joe down for a tour. My friend and business colleague, Steve Frailey, one of the owners, not only told me to bring him down to the pier, but that he had would take us for ride on a tug.

Steve is one of the tug masters for the company and called in to action when there quite few jobs the tugs are working.

For almost a month, San Diego exhibited winter weather I brag about. While the rest of the country, including Lebanon, was being buffeted by snow, ice, and cringing cold, the Southwest corner was perking along in the mid-70’s with clear skies.

Beachgoers were out (but not to swim: the Japanese current would turn a swimmer into, as Bill Cosby once said, “a giant goose pimple”). Even better, the mild Santa Ana pushed the evening thermometer down, allowing me flames in the fireplace.

After last summer’s unusual cold and damp and this autumn’s drizzle, weather prognosticators have heralded a woefully dry 2011. La Niña, the weather guessers declared, would bring arid back to the high desert coastland. And after all, when have those grand interpreters of meteorological phenomena ever missed a guess?

So early last week, I was pumped for visitors.

First, the Hicks brothers, Alan and Jim, would roll in for Vanderbilt’s season opening baseball games with two San Diego teams over the weekend. Alan transited from San Francisco via Long Beach, and Jim wandered from New York City and Connecticut.
Quickly on their heels, my brother, his wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law are slated to arrive Wednesday for a short week, stopping in Phoenix on their way from Vermont and Massachusetts.

We woke up Thursday morning – the day before Vanderbilt baseball and the Hicks arrivals – to rain: steady, cold, unpleasant rain, which continued until Friday morning provided a sunshine break. But by rendezvous and game time, gloom reclaimed the landscape. For two days, Al, Jim, and I proved to be stalwart fans, braving driving rain and piercing winds. Vandy beat the Toreros of the University of San Diego, 4-3 in a rain-shortened game and topped the San Diego State Aztecs, 7-3 with four runs in the ninth and two rain delays.

As I write this column, we mull attending today’s doubleheader (Sunday). Forecasters say the rain will abate while it is pummeling my courtyard outside. This story will be continued.

The prognosticators are predicting no rain but highs in the 50s while Joe’s family is visiting. San Diego is not behaving like San Diego. I often forget the Southwest corner is next to the sea, and she is a temperamental force. She has chosen my showoff time to rebel, raining on my parade, literally and figuratively.

Either the weathermen have been yanking my chain about La Niña; Murphy and the Southwest Corner are in cahoots; or I just have, as Kevin Kline so aptly put it in the western, “Silverado,” “Bad luck.”

Saturday, when one of the few sunshine breaks occurred during the baseball game, we spied a rainbow forming on the western horizon. I hoped it was a good omen, which it wasn’t weather wise, but it did lead to one of my favorite stories.

In the summer of 1984, my bride joined me in Mayport, Fl, our first home. The nine-month delay after our wedding was precipitated by my deployment to the Indian Ocean aboard U.S.S. Yosemite.

In the late summer, a fiercely tremolo storm rolled through the Jacksonville area. When the storm broke, an incredible double rainbow formed across the entire sky.
Maureen was enthralled. Rainbows are not uncommon in the Southwest corner where she lived most her life, but this double arch was impressive.

“Let’s get a picture,” she asked.

I dutifully grabbed the camera and headed outside. She stopped me before I reached the door.

“When I was traveling through Europe during college summers, a French friend gave me some high quality film. I have been saving it for a glorious photo opportunity. Let’s use it for the rainbow.”

She ran to a drawer and pulled out this treasured film.

“Certainly,” I replied in my best good husband tone, installing this high grade film in the camera.

Since she was so excited, I let her take the photos. We waited anxiously for three days for the photos to be developed. When returned, we opened the box in great anticipation.

The film was high quality. But it was black and white. I like black and white photography, but it doesn’t work well with rainbows.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tennessee Steam Engine

Grandpa Culley and son Jesse
back in thirteen,
when my pap was a year away from born,
rode the train to Nashville
– a half day's journey then,
fetching a steam engine,
the first portable saw mill in those parts.

Jesse was a strapping big man then,
a youth, not yet rounded with gut and jowls,
like when i knew him as Uncle;
when he told this story to me in eighty-four:
he wasn't so strapping at 93,
shriveled into the baggy old man shapelessness,
pale cream complexion with wispy thin, pure white hair,
in the lazy boy rocker chair in his youngest daughter’s den
that November with the trees bare and grass
straw colored in the brisk sharp sunshine
of middle tennessee.

The trip was before Grandpa Culley
lost most of the fingers on his right hand
in that very same steam-driven saw mill on someone’s farm.
his hair had not turned white as it is
in the lone picture i have in the family book.
Uncle Jesse said Grandpa was wiry thin strong like my father
who sat at the other side of the den paying respect to the family,
while i listened to the tale.
Uncle Jesse said Grandpa Culley was more than
pulling his weight rousting the steam engine.

On the way back, driving that steam engine,
they couldn't make it in one day:
Stopped the night
on a farm in Donelson Uncle Jesse related.
Pretty nice folks to put 'em up
without any idea who they might be.
had a good supper and pleasant conversation.
by my calculation the farm was
pretty close to where they built Opryland,
but the land was still country with
folks a lot more trusting than they are nowadays.

“When there's static in the air and you can hardly hear,
better turn on the radio of the Lord,”
A.P. and Mama Maybelle would intone.
Lonzo and Oscar, Lester and Earl, Foggy Mountain Boys,
even Minnie from Grinders Switch were real;
even Roy Acuff with his cave in Kentucky
would have made the show and held on till
the deep dark of three in the Nashville night
eating long after the opry closed for the night:
with coffee in thick mugs at Linebaugh's
on Church Street downtown,
just down the hill from the Ryman.

Long after that shiny new steam engine belched toward
Lebanon from the Donelson farm front yard
by Grandpa Culley and Uncle Jesse
did the Opry begin at the Ryman
and much longer before Opryland
sprouted in its full festival of plastic country glory and
moved to the old farm land
where Grandpa Culley and Uncle Jesse
rested overnight just before the big war and
long before the pale, soft skinned old man
with sagging jowls and kind countenance
would tell me this tale
the last time i saw him.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Transporting on the time machine

This column appeared several weeks ago in The Lebanon Democrat. I love the story for several reasons. Reports from home indicate J.B. Leftwich, a major character in this story is not doing well after several strokes at 90. He has been an incredible influence on my life and he and his family are as close to family as we can get. I am thinking of him as i post this.

SAN DIEGO – Occasionally in the Southwest corner, Captain Kirk’s transporter and H.G. Wells’ time machine have been combined to take me back home and the past.

Unfortunately, my transporting time machine has some dead zones. The contraption can take me to places I remember as if I am living in the moment again. Yet there are also many events I have forgotten completely. Then, beaming cannot be accomplished.

Folks in Lebanon, both friends and family, seem to recall a great deal more than me.
Perhaps the Star Trek transporter part is not required for those in Lebanon, and that function has some kinks in distances over 2000 miles.

In a quiet moment, my combo time-space travel machine will magically snatch me up and send me back to memories.

Just the other day, I went back to Tower, the Castle Heights building with cadet barracks on the upper floors. On the first floor, Major Lindsey Donnell’s classroom was located in the north front corner. Back of that room was Colonel Harvey L. Brown’s small classroom where the mustachioed colonel brought calculus and analytical geometry into reality.

The south side of the building belonged to Major J.B. Leftwich. His mathematics classroom was in front and the yearbook and newspaper office was in the back. A door connected the two so the major could easily access the two without passing through the hall.

I was transported to Tower on Thursday, October 13, 1960. Mike Dixon was sports editor of the “Cavalier,” the award winning newspaper. He and I skipped lunch formation. We hid in that office, turned on the radio at low volume, and put our ears close.

It was my first and last time to skip any formations in my four years at Heights. I believe it was Mike’s first as well. But our mission was important. We were listening to the seventh game of the World Series.

Mike and I were anomalies for Lebanon at the time. The majority of sports-minded citizens were St. Louis fans. The Cardinals were the closest major league team to the Southeast. There were Yankee fans, including my father, David Hall, the Cavalier editor, and Eddie Callis. I don’t know if Eddie skipped anything over at Lebanon High School to listen to the game. I hope so.

Mike and I had been died-in-the-wool Pittsburgh fans since the early 1950s. We could recite batting averages and earned runs of every Pirate and even mimicked their batting stances when we played our backyard whiffle ball baseball.

Thinking back, our knowledge was amazing considering we saw the Pirates only on rare “Game of the Week” Saturday broadcasts sponsored by Falstaff Beer and announced by Dizzy Dean (Pee Wee Reese joined Dean at CBS that 1960 season), and nearly all of our statistical information came from the weekly “Sporting News.”

In the previous six games, the Yankees had outscored the “Buccos” 52-10, but somehow our beloved Pirates had won three close games, forcing the final game in Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field.

The Pirates’ early lead vanished in the middle innings. We were quiet in the bottom of the eighth inning with the Yanks leading, 7-4. But the Pirates scored five runs in the bottom half. Our excitement grew but was quickly deflated when New York added two runs and tied the game at nine in the top of the ninth. With Pittsburgh at the plate in the bottom of the inning, Mike and I stood as Bill Mazeroski came to bat against Ralph Terry. On the second pitch, the Pirate second-baseman drove the ball over the left-field wall.

Pandemonium struck the 36,683 attendees in Pittsburgh. It also struck in the Cavalier office. Mike and I whooped and jumped up and down on the desks.


Major Leftwich also had missed lunch but to grade papers. He came through that door and caught Mike and me in the middle of leaps for joy.

I can still feel the shock of getting caught, but it did not dim the glow of victory. I was chagrin to be facing Colonel Dan Ingram, the commandant, the next day. Major Leftwich had put us on report. Fortunately, the wiry Virginian only gave me five demerits, two short of requiring me to march the “bullring” in punishment.

I blamed it on Mike.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Jousting With Windmills; The Watch Is Over

My watch for the decision on my Vanderbilt MFA application is over. I have awakened from my dream. Don Quixote is no longer jousting with his windmills. It is time for me to move on.

Last night, i received a very polite notification i was not accepted for the Vanderbilt MFA program.

It was a long shot from the beginning, and i am okay with their decision. It was probably the right decision for Vanderbilt and the applicants who were accepted.

And after all, it was just a dream of an old man who has dreamed all of his life.

Vanderbilt, from my perspective, remains one of the most wonderful places on earth. It combines the best of academia with a confluence of the most wonderful people i have known outside of family. The MFA was my dream to correct the degree i should have earned but screwed up a half century ago by bad decisions and lack of focus and misplaced priorities. This effort was my attempt to correct that.

And now i will never be a certifiable member of the Vanderbilt cult, only an outsider looking in.

That is enough of my selfish whining. More importantly, i now must decide how i will take this rejection and make it better for me and all those around me. One impact is my writing will take another course. I may intensify my writing efforts. I may just let it take me where it wishes to take me. I may rest for a while and turn to other tasks awaiting me. I may work on my golf game.

For the next couple of days, i will wrestle with all of that. i have wrestled with worse.

In many ways, the results were good. For example, i can get on with me growing old.
Regardless, i have learned from the hunt even though i did not catch the elusive fox. It has even been fun.

I am in great appreciation for those who have joined me in the chase: Carla Neggers, Pete Toennies, Dave Carey, Bob Koenigs, and Amelia Hipps who submitted letters of recommendation in my behalf; Dave Young who provided me with great advice on changes, significantly improving my writing submissions; all of those who continued to offer me support and counsel about all aspects of the application process, in particular my wife Maureen, my two daughters Blythe and Sarah, my brother Joe, my sister-in-law Carla, my niece Kate, and Alan and Maren Hicks. And thanks cannot overlook the impact JB Leftwich has had on me since he became my mentor in journalism and provided me the impetus to write seriously over fifty years ago.

i am looking forward to getting on with it. Besides, i don’t have to move from my home in Bonita.

The poem below was the last of those i submitted in my application. Somehow it seems to fit my current situation.

Dreams and Innisfree

Mr. Yeats, that revolutionary son of a bitch,
wrote of the Isle of Innisfree,
creating yet another dream for me,
which i did not need for
i have dreamed all my life;
it’s time to put aside such distractions.

tomorrow, i will meet a young woman,
not needing some dreamer to interfere;
we will converse, enjoy our time
discussing possibilities
in the ambience of the avant garde eatery:
she will go away again,
forging her own path.

i will go home to
play my role,
subjugating my dreams;
it is time i gave up dreaming,
then that ole sum bitch Yeats
tempts me with Innisfree:
I will succumb and dream again.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some Mid-Watch Thoughts

This watch has officially begun.

It is not a Navy watch, officially beginning on the hour for four hours (except the two-hour dog watches), but much like those bridge watches in that one really relieved the off-going watch fifteen minutes before the official hour – i am writing a long poem about those Navy watches.

My life does not hinge on acceptance or rejection to Vanderbilt’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing (i applied for one of the three poetry positions). As desirous as i am to be selected; learn to write better poetry; finally, actually get a degree from where i should have received a Bachelor of Arts almost half a century ago; and be near my parents for the next two years, i recognize such a venture will be very hard work, could be unpleasant, and may not be anything like i envision. I will be disappointed not to be accepted, but ready to turn the page, get on with my life, make a little money, and settle into growing old gracefully.

So i am up and awake in the middle of what would have been the mid-watch many years ago, on watch. The watch has officially begun.

I checked the internet, even though i knew news from Nashville would not yet arrive. The program administrator, in the program herself, emailed me a week ago, not answering my actual question, but explaining they were trying to make the final decisions and notifying applicants by today, the first of March and further explaining the number of applicants was much greater than expected (they were “expecting” over 600 for the six positions). I told Maureen, my wife for those who don’t know, that meant, like it means for all government agencies and academic institutions, the word would certainly come after the first and certainly not early.

Word of acceptance or rejection didn’t come early. I am up trying not to think about it so i can go back to sleep.

I am thinking about what to do with the rest of my life if accepted or not. That is a hard consideration to turn off.

So i have included a poem here i re-wrote and re-edited for my application. i have been placing the revised poems here for a while, but this one seemed fitting for an old codger…er, curmudgeon, as a group of old golfers call ourselves on watch in the middle of the night.


Thoughts about the discovery of the well-preserved and very old remains of an Incan boy and young woman high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, circa 1995.

the magazine photos riveted attention, fascination:
children, forced to grow up and die
before their time;
did they volunteer to the sacrifice?
now they stimulate interest in ages past
and macabre beliefs:
i only feel sadness.

dead, empty hulks.
eyeless sockets staring out
into a world gone techno,
not a great deal more advanced from
what they saw when they could see:
world still full of ignorance, hatred and religious zealots
out to rid the world of all other gods.
the hulks,
not just dead, but dead and gone, yet not gone,
still here, rediscovered,
creating fascination, ghoulish interest in such relics.

hulk: dead warship lady
i wandered through during my navy days
lady warship "mothballed" with foam
until cleaned up for her sacrifice,
i, sailor man, entered the hulk,
semi-official equipment scavenger
for my man-of-war, pronounced female,
herself already obsolescent:
aboard: quiet and eerie,
a presence here beyond me felt:
an old unfinished letter,
desk drawer of a small stateroom forward,
"Dear Clara," was the only identification;
nothing much more than the opening hello;
no great heroics here,
just a khaki clad lieutenant
meeting obligations to Clara.

down below in the steel machine guts of the lady,
the clang against the emptiness of fireroom ladders,
once filled with hiss and heat and screams over the blowers
stirring the moist heat to just above tolerable.
it was more incan.
i could see the sailors shirtless sweating,
changing spray nozzles as the orders from above
required they rev up the steaming to where
the sides of the boilers heaved.

just as gone as the incans.
eye sockets empty,
bodily fluids extracted or dried up long ago.
but no petrification here.
no, she will be hauled to sea
to feel the heat of missiles,
practicing the art of war,
slamming into her innards
as her body is twisted, rent asunder,
gaping holes filling with the briny sea
as she slides, stem down
into deep bliss.
sacrificed like the incans,
dead and gone,
but no longer seen
like the incans.
at least the old war lady
will have some peace and quiet.