By Tony Connor
Slumped in a prickly armchair
on a humid summer night,
I listened dully to dogs
barking with brainless pleasure
far away and in this street
under the Victory flags.
The bronze eagles with spread wings,
flightless on walls and porches,
reflected the light from stars,
as my slow imaginings
moved between foreign corpses
and these Stars and Stripes of ours.
Sweaty, itching, impotent,
I scratched my shirtless shoulder
and reached for another beer —
like a listless President
dreaming a new world order
from idle thoughts and hot air.
Or like someone long inured
to the crafted, public lies
that lull the popular mind
into easy disregard
for the coarse realities
of imperial command.
The Heroes were coming home —
but not to me in my chair
dogged by barks and disarray;
"Welcome!" the flags flapped, "Welcome!
you fought for all we hold dear
in the mighty USA."
It was Adam's 15th birthday, so I was prepared to do whatever he wanted to do, hampered only by the fact that I couldn't park anywhere near the house because they were repainting parking lines, fire lanes, and speed bumps all around the neighborhood. We picked up Paul and went out for an early lunch at Tara Thai -- early because he had a conference call and Daniel had driver's ed in the early afternoon -- where I had tofu panang and some of son's veggie pad see ew, which was excellent.
My afternoon was less excellent because I was stung by a wasp while I was a mile into the woods of Cabin John Park while Adam was at tennis (I had offered to take him to the park earlier so he could take photos, or out for ice cream, or out for Starbucks, but he declined all my offers). There was nowhere to go looking for ice or baking soda -- the Big Train stadium was less than a half mile away but I didn't think there was a home game -- so I walked back in a lot of pain and think I scared a woman walking her dog who asked if I was all right.
Paul made cheese fondue for dinner since Adam loves it -- you may remember that we had his Bar Mitzvah at the Melting Pot -- and my parents came over with chocolate mousse cake, about which Adam said "OMNOMNOMNOM" in his blog which I assume means he liked it. It was a quiet evening -- too late to start a movie by the time we got off the phone with my in-laws, the Orioles and Nationals had already lost to Boston and Houston respectively in afternoon games -- then Jon Stewart explained why the Revolutionary War was a failure because of current US and UK politics respectively and now my still-aching sting is making me want to collapse.