There are no statues for the last war here or for the war before, or for any conflict within the last century. A lone Union general holds a vigil in the heart of Brooklyn--his name worn down to lumps on a plaque. A marble ledge circles the base of his monument. It's late. I'm alone on a skateboard except for the icy chill of a bad winter and a military stare. Some vandal-artist's cryptic tag crosses the army man's chest and a condom is stuck to his feet. I see the blackened chewing gum, can almost smell the spit on the ground. I was locked into a crooked grind when the last half of a man--thin hair, a hunched back--began to spit rhetoric about my lack of historical deference. I asked him for the name of the general watching--he turned the shade of a sunburn and left to find a cop. I started to run when I saw the blue and white car with its lights flashing red, feeling the glare of the nameless soldier burning into my spine. Now I wait for the night silence, no one to accuse me of bad citizenship. Though I can't shake the eyes of the leader above. He never says a word. His face is a blank mask. I wonder what he saw that turned him to stone.
--For Robert Lowell, by Wes Miller, Brooklyn, NY