Tom McDade





Sentry Billy B.

Good dope kept
Viet Cong on white
chargers at bay while
on guard duty,
seeds for poems
about Rimbaud, etc.
fell from saddlebags
said Billy B.
Slight of build, no nose
for the specs he wore
so always frame poking.
His faded fatigue jacket
celebrated nothing
but survival and good
deep pockets perfect
for contraband.
No one on campus could
roll joints with such skill
with the dash and élan
of a screen cowpoke
fashioning a legal stick.
Later teaching fancy
prep school English
his poetry and tales of dope
might have been visible
in his busy, haunted eyes
or stolen from
from his rucksack..
That look or the awe
on looted legal pad pages
reeled in unruly classes
so expertly they checked
their pockets and purses
for missing wallets
after a poke at the specs
and an easy erasure
of textbook words
as charger chalky
off the blackboard
long and green
as Billy B. recalled
smacking erasers
together as a kid
and the muffled waste
good dope made
of war noise.



Tom McDade is 68 year-old retired computer programmer living in Fredericksburg with his wife, no kids, no pets.  Graduate of Fairfield University, he served two tours of duty in the U.S. Navy.  His poems have most recently appeared in Release Magazine, Gadfly and Paragraphiti.

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