by Benjamin Buchholz

rigged the headsets connecting us, gunner, driver and I
so that Slipknot, Black Flag, Jimmy Buffet play over

noise, a lullaby, never as loud as we would like, better
than nothing, though, nothing close to noise, kin, kissing

cousins, the first exploration of everything, outthrust
from the big bang itself, until ciphers appear, resolution,

that's how I tolerate the Buffet, think back on Jamaica,
think beyond the twang into recollected woman there on

her belly in the sand, there in the pagoda surfside, drunk
and beautiful dangling barefoot in leisure, salamander, on

the roadway, a plain brown box, we stop, dismount, approach
it with caution, letting the headset hang in the doorway,

letting the tin thrum mosquito itself beneath the real
swallowtail noises of the dykes and berms, big dragonflies,

the box, squared on the shoulder of the road, just right,
we circle, me forward, my gunner watching me, circle it

barefoot between the pool and sea when the green slime
covered the beach, soft heels, burnt in sun, common looking

close, looking for wires, none, clear it, kicking it, light
as pretending, I buckle in, clip the headset, Velcro straps

over my Kevlar, check, check, back on the air, and Buffet
is gone, into something nervier, when the clods arc unseen

from the ditch and the running away, the laughter, haunting
her, the rec director organizes ping-pong during the storm

shutters closed, Caribbean yellow, we made child that day
in the languor, Buffet, like noise coating nothing, someone

immaculate is embodied, don't shoot, don't, they're boys
running, it's fun, like homecoming for you when you toilet-

papered the principal's oak, ignore it, a sign that nothing
is gone into something nervier, unexploded, a passive war.

Work from this series of poems has appeared in Planet Magazine, Vox, Void, and Noo. The selection from Noo, "An American Monologue", has just been nominated for a Pushcart Award. My non-fiction book "Private Soldiers" is going to a second printing after just being released in September. For a full bibliography please see