The sky is a wonderful blue
and the air is just the right touch
of cool for November.
Southern California days in
the lateness of the year are a
pleasure – which makes this
parade exhilarating instead of
tiring. Armistice Day, 1924!
We came back from France
changed, my old self, dead.
I hardly remember my childhood
in Iowa before we came to
My parents bought a bungalow
on East Ocean and I went to
High School by the sea.
I do remember the bombs
and the snaking rows of trenches
between us and the Boche, though.
I told Larry, he was there in ’18,
that you could almost smell the fear
of so many young boys who’d never
seen the inside of a movie palace,
let alone been to Europe.
It was the rats at night that kept me
But it’s a beautiful day in California
and I put on my khakis to march
down Pine Avenue with the young ladies
starring at me. A couple of stolen
kisses almost make the
nightmares worth it.
I can hear over the roar of the crowd
(or perhaps my own imagination)
the breakers by the pier.
Red, white, and blue flags hang
from the Drug Store, free Cokes
for us Doughboys, lost and found.
I look at the asphalt under my feet
and feel the vibrations of thousands
of beating hearts
and I hope to live here forever.
Thankfully that war was the one
to end all wars.
And no more young men will
ever have to march to senseless
death, not while people
in this parade remember.