Larry Beckett


from U.S. Rivers

American Revolution / Cuban Missile Crisis

Old Solitaire,

that gull, on the Long Wharf

Why come ye hither, long years,

signs bad weather:

the April night: October morning:

the king’s

redcoats photo reconnaissance,


the river: launch site

your heart what madness

at San Cristobal:

Kennedy:—Air strike—but then. . .

In the North Church steeple

show two lanterns

if out by water,

if by land, one:

Joint Chiefs danger

on our hills: all out invasion,

if it bring holocaust:

and the Sons of

Liberty send

Revere, riding to Lexington,

warn Hancock, warn

Oh hear ye not: stop Soviet

ships bound for Cuba but

ye’ll learn to back:

the rebel’s arrested,

and the deacon’s horse:

Strategic Air Command

goes DEFCON 2:

one slip, and the last fire:

shots, they abandon

him wild and free

as the day breaks. In secret

we withdraw Jupiters

from Turkey: cold warriors

govern by fear. The gull

lands: Boston answers:

against the easterly blow,

this vigilance.

Larry Beckett © 2017


from U.S. Rivers

American Revolution / Sixties Riots

Washington crossing,

his blue army walks

in snow, barefoot, bleeding:

Dance to the Kill

King? Power! music

assassinates the window:

Joseph, divinity

student, rounds up

East State, make peace

All we need is a drummer.

The rebels take

King, and aim the cannons:

So that the dancers Diamonds

fly off, apples,

easy chairs steal away,

golf balls stinging the pigs

on Perry just won’t hide:

this officer, cracking

off a warning, is jammed,

guns Joseph down.

Under the Battle

Monument, firebombs

kill Trenton, bricks

hail on the firefighters

the horns blowing: only

abandoned lots,

hotels: the governor holds

an ice cream cone:

Go home! over the river,

crossing Washington.

Larry Beckett © 2017

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