I’ve been interested in the Lexington since middle school, when I was most interested in dipping my hand into my pants. I was lucky enough to spend the night in haunted bitch, too. It’s sad, really, that ghosts would choose to lurk onboard a monument that’s nothing more than a concrete-colored grounded museum of a machine that echoes both the moaning death and screaming children as laugher mixes with decade-old prayers to mothers in the emptied war machine as diabetic septuagenarians eat at the ‘50s-style diner built into a ship most famous for its service in World War II as the restaurant’s anachronistic neon glows against steel the colorless shade of drowned servicemen.
I’ve never been comfortable with how comfortable people are with war when act as if annihilation is like calling a repair man. Those same people say that you must know history, too, but that’s not the same as understanding history, and understanding is knowing, not the other way around. In total palm-to-the-Good-Word-truth, all I really know now is as much as I knew when I spent the night aboard the Lexington: most days, all I’m really concerned with is getting my hands into my pants.
The Blue Ghost
She was a mother, a carrier to
bombers and diseased sailors.
Years after she had been put to pasture,
a livid buzz stole sleep:
A red light kept retinas awake:
a sound as comforting
as a battleship’s ping to a submarine.
The same hummm that
dead men heard fifty-four years before,
under that same shade of red.
Night was not alright under her deck.
The smell was the chamber of a cleaned revolver:
oily, metallic inside the Blue Ghost’s belly,
where a boy was in a bunk with nine dead men.
Explosions blew out their ear drums
as Japanese torpedoes turned them
into body ingredients the size of thumbs.
A crew of buzzcut corpses,
her cozy sailors wrinkled in oceans
drank through the ship’s torpedo wound
by bits, ball sacks to toe nails, torn to debris,
scalps and bones, all driftwood to shores.
In oceans, buoyancy is not comforting.
Without a guppy’s chance to utter a prayer
In oceans, chance is a chewy corpse for
the cod and crustaceans.
Those lucky ensigns,
graced with a chance
to leave echoes.
Who knows, maybe their shredded apparitions
pretend play in cockpits,
a haunting the call of Battle stations!
They’re still anchored by the hull’s hole,
comforted by the hummm,
where they pick their teeth with torpedoes
and repeat a plea for a mother’s help or
yelp to any god to save them from
sleeping in sheets like folded flags
the mothers of dead sailors receive.
But she was a mother, a carrier
of crippled bombers, disembodied soggy sailors.
The fermented men now
sleep where only salt and waves are safe,
in their old, blown-up bunks inside the Pacific’s Queen,
the cold, run aground, bloodied bitch
with corroded bunks and a banshee crew
rattling chains, rehearsing salutes
in salty sea water solution while others won wars.
Under wool, ignited with red light,
they stay up and near a boy’s closed eye lids,
under hummm and hue;
away from battle stations built to know only death.
Thought, that’s surly all they know,
that hummm and hue and haunting.
Dead ship men, lucky ensigns—so many
aren’t graced with such a historic grave.