Thursday Rune: “Tom”


We were
crew mates and friends,
Tom and I.
He came from
South Carolina,
via the
University of Hawaiʻi.

Partners.
A team of two.
For a couple of years,
we had laughs.
But it ended.

Lieutenant Tom, an enigma,
half of a nuclear bombing team,
a pot smoker,
beer drinker (me too),
almost certainly
a skeptic.

A kind of Buddhist,
politically left,
a sky diving
motorcyclist, and
the class clown.

We were different.
Tom deeper,
more spiritual,
and funnier.

After the Air Force,
Tom became a teacher,
back in South Carolina,
and a renowned
BASE jumper.

An avocation
that brought
an early end to Tom’s life
at the bottom
of a high SC tower when
his parachute gear
failed.

I’ll not forget.
I wish it had been
different. I’d call him.


Look both ways and remember even brief friendships.
Mind the gaps, they sometimes hold truths.

Sammi’s weekender #152


We wandered aimlessly.

As we toured all the South Pacific islands we could reach,
burning off fuel to be light enough to land.

Some piloted the two-hundred-ton B-52. Like cold war nomads,
we wove through the sky from place to place.

In the air we carved circles around the clouds, talked, ate boxed lunches,
and wondered which of us would write the story and a poem about it.


Look both ways,
unless you’ve been cleared to wander aimlessly.
Mind the gaps,
aviation is inherently dangerous.

Poetry – Cold-war Crew-dogs

Crew sprints to B-52 on nuclear alert

thursday morning – day one

of alert. go underground.

called it changeover day.

drive to base. park. unload for the week.

stand in line – at the shack

process through a sally port.

see guns, security,

tension cut with humor,

line badges and id cards,

secret signals and voice passwords,

briefings, weather, announcements,

need to know games.

meet with leaving crew at jet.

open top-secret boxes,

review more secrets.

never be alone,

be two-man in

no-lone-zone,

always.

nukes not nonsense.

check the jet.

check the nukes.

squeeze tight

between

aerodynamic

plutonium

cylinders of death,

check dial settings

for proper

megatonnage yields.

be positive. no room for error.

more jokes. more pokes.

sign for everything.

responsibility now ours.

for each a new identity

part of crew, a sortie number.

become the job; pilot, navigator,

gunner, bombardier.

trained killers without names.

captains, lieutenants some majors.

then to a study vault. more t.s. bs.

tankers, targets, terrain.

threats.

not to think of war. insane.

crew dog. be the bomb.

refueling

recovery

repatriation

geneva rules bring

more sarcasm.

back at the shack, more

jokes, games, pool or pool,

gym, phone calls, write, study.

tv, coffee, cokes, bs,

testing, reacting, napping.

bored before noon.

no booze, no drugs, no sex.

seven days to go.

relax. no war this week,

bored is good.

always,

just

twelve

minutes

to gear-up.

hasn’t happened.

yet.

© Bill Reynolds, 7/16/2018

Look both ways to see all sides. Mind the boring gaps. Dystopia awaits.

Minimum interval takeoff as would be for nuclear war. Black smoke is result of water injection to engines for more thrust.

To watch a humorous little Youtube video about this, click here.