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Saturday 30 March 2013

What George Told Me :
Helicopter Gunships?

George went missing at odd times.
Could not -- would not? -- tell where he had been.
He once went missing with a class of children
though not far. Was quickly found.
Then one day he confided:

Knee-jerk reactor me.
That's all I'm left with now: knee-
jerk reaction is the whole of me.
Like yesterday
walked up Clover Hill
branched off towards the cliffs
just before the ridge
a whoosh, whoosh, whoosh...
Bird. Eagle. Owl. Dunno,
coz I'm not countrified, you see.
A helicopter gunship
whooshed up from beyond the brow.
Nearly took my eyebrows off,
i'm telling you.
Missed me by inches. Anyway,
drops down doan I? Flattening meself
in the long grass. See, what I'm saying?
Anything that moves could kill me, eh?
Would kill me. Anything
out in the open. Just like that!
Just got this well-honed knee-
jerk going for me, eh?

That and the single strategy they taught
us all to stay alive in desert sands.
Last week down in the town...
the marching jazz band passed by me.
I followed it. Joined on the back.
That's what they taught us, but
that's how I got lost...
The crowd was laughing fit to bust
I didn't give a damn.
That's the strategy they said.
Get separated from your group your done for --
mostly. Only chance. See a column moving...
join on the back.

Now that I could believe,
but helicopter gunships? Really?
Or something he's picked up since then?
What he clearly did pick up
was agoraphobia of some sort. If I
would take my class out to the playing field
and passed his classroom on the way
I'd find him and his pupils
lining up with mine for games, but then
he'd have a change of mind
and take them back, resume his classroom
talk of theories. Mind control.


Brian Miller said...

what an interesting character that...sounds like the war might have affected him just a bit--helicopter gun ships? joining the parade...on that note it is pretty sad the way we treat our soldiers...and war def affects them in ways we dont really understand...

Mary said...

I like the idea of: "See the column moving....join on the back." Seems this would definitely be the safest place to be!

(Hope to see you at dVerse today, as I am in charge of the bar!)

David Cranmer said...

I like this guy.

Ygraine said...

Think I detected just a hint of shell shock here?
Part of him seems to be living still in his war days. I haven't yet come across anyone who came through such experiences completely unscathed.
This one touched my heart...

Claudia said...

oh heck...sounds like part of him is still in the war and the flashbacks hit into his reality... really a sensitive portrait, touching..

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Elephant's Child said...

Such a real and moving post. That poor man - and all the others like him who battle their demons each day.

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Cloudia said...


Carl said...

I think the other posters have covered this great bid of writing well. I got caught up in what was going on with George right from the start.

Dave King said...

Thanks Everyone
Hope you and yours had a happy Easter. Sorry I wan't around Bloggoland yesterday, so am now running a day behind time. It was one of those (happy) occasions when life happens and family calls.

Thank you all for your contributions. It was good to have such a sympathetic response to George and his plight. He has occasionally been seen more as a figure of fun.