the museum of americana

a literary review

American Legion, 1964 – Poetry by David Walsh

for Todd Davis

By 11AM, cigarette haze smothers the bar
littered with short beer glasses and number strips,
the last stop on Dad’s Saturday errands.
I’m alone at a corner table with a coke and a warning
to keep this our little secret.

Dad joins the leaners, the men from the Big War
whose elbows hold up their drinks, charred fingers
gripping fire, eyes staring into the midday light.

I want stories of machine gun nests, grenades lobbed
by hidden enemies, fighter planes strafing Pacific destroyers:
anything for the wars we boys play in our backyards
every afternoon, our guns without consequences.

But all they offer is a liturgy from a different page: who got arrested
last night, how much was lost in the barn fire down the road,
who’s going to pitch for the Yankees this afternoon, and bets
about which wife will call before noon.

~ ~ ~

David Walsh has spent his career working for local and State government in New York.  He currently manages a project to consolidate eMail systems across New York State government; he previously served as Chief Information Officer for the State Education Department, and managed the technology support unit for the State Senate.  His interests include history, both geopolitical and social; baseball; the role of God and religion in our lives; and the pervasiveness of technology.  He considers himself a poet in training, and has been greatly influenced by the poetry workshops at the Chautauqua Institution each summer. He has been published in Spitball — The Literary Baseball Magazine, and had a poem accepted for publication in an upcoming edition of NINE — A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.

David lives in Scotia, New York with his wife Pam, a college professor; they have two children, Erin, a labor attorney in Albany, and Andrew, a food systems analyst and food purveyor in Erie, PA

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