Ghost Riders

The book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings: An Executive Officer’s Memoir, is getting closer to printing. The heavy work of editing, except for a look at the finished product before it goes to press is done. For an old man, it was quite an effort over the last several days to get it back to the editor and designer.

Now, i have a little time to breathe and, of course, tell stories. And when i awake in the middle of the night, some other things than the book come into my mind. This one visited me last night. i couldn’t get it out of my head.

Tonight, maybe i can get some sleep.

Ghost Riders

 the radar blipped across the screen;
seen many times,
that was on a machine-gray obelisk
in a cramped compartment of red lights
called CIC
under a rubber hood
in the pilot house,
both on haze-gray greyhounds
of the fleet:
Xenas in the steel armor of a knight
called tin cans
better yet, their nomenclature of

this radar circular sweep was from the sky,
a ball with projections circling our orb
sending its dot dash to the earth
to viewers of flat screens
across the world
showing not the enemy’s fleet,
nor the tankers, cruise ships, fishing boats,
revealing the terror of the weather
by famous and scientific weather guessers
abetted by blips in the sky.

on the big screen occupying one house wall,
the green, yellow, and orange clouds on the screen
roll down with the Japanese Current from the Artic
while Japan lolls in the Kuroshio Current
coming up from the equator,
clockwise, you see,
as the Gulf Current allows lolling
on the American east coast
the blips on the radar are…

ghost riders in the sky
like Vaughn Monroe sang about
years and years ago
driving me to fault those who
futilely tried to cover
Vaughn’s one of a kind voice
his ghost riders in the sky

ghost riders in the sky
painted in a mural on a wall,
driving their steeds from the stampede
behind them
in the clouds
in a hamburger joint
incongruously named Boll Weevil
in the Southwest corner
where the folks weren’t likely
to have a clue
the boll weevil destroyed cotton crops.

ghost riders in the sky
In the sky, lord, in the sky:
radar blips
forecasting the storm a’coming,
riding like Samurai on the Japanese current
less frightening than a blip on a tin can,
a contact on radar repeater
to be designated “skunk alfa”
with constant bearing, decreasing range,
which was termed “CBDR,”
which meant collision course,
something to be avoided
at all costs
so not to become
ghost riders in the sky.

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