Conquistador

Copper-green pigeon-saluted
Statue of Balboa rusts quietly
In the bright California sun;
Balboa beach, or was it Coronado?
Conquistador blares from a car radio,
A yellow Dodge Charger radio, probably,
With a black Landau roof
“And though I came to jeer at you,
I leave now with regret…”
As a boy in the backseat
Holds his horses ‘til the Golden Arches
(heavenly conqueror of at least 9 million cows…)
Cindy back there too, slurping a vanilla shake
Then Doug guns the muscle car north
Toward Laguna;
On the beach we skipped the wet blue waves
Piling sand-crabs into red plastic pails,
Making mud cathedrals
The tide would quickly demolish…
“And though your jewel-encrusted blade…”
“Has long since lost its sheen”
Back in Burbank, late night election returns
Intersperse with body-counts from Nam
On Grandma’s shiny Zenith:
Rosy Grier tackles a guy named Sirhan
As RFK’s promise geysers from a hole in his skull
On the kitchen floor of the Ambassador hotel…
Next day at the playground Jon Graves said
“Lotsa guys walk around with six bullets in their head”
KHJ played a weard song on the tinny transistor
Where someone skipped the light fandango,
And the ceiling fell away, visions
Of vestal virgins with airy g-strings,
But no one could know it was from Bach…
The DJ said that Bobby was dead,
As Jerry Figueroa traded a Denny McClain
For two Roger Marises,
A smog alert sounded
Prematurely signaling recess was over

–Michael Carter


Poetry Writing

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