Federal Housing Superlatives
A picture sticks in my head of a kid
in my block who stole a city bus.
People shook fists and cursed Eddie
as he sped past bus stops finally
parking and bolting as if a driver
in a take-this-job-and-shove-
it state of mind.
Hot-wiring a building site bulldozer
also ranks high on his resume.
When he finished the Lebanon
Knitting Mill parking lot next
door was a junkyard in progress.
I lost track of him until the first
time walking out of the enlisted
men’s club at a Norfolk navy base
I saw a WWII mural, a landing craft
unloading soldiers and I swear
the coxswain was a spitting
image of bold and daring Eddie.
Taller than I remember, but the bushy
black hair is the same.
Odd, since Steve, next apartment,
was the only one in my block
who saw action and seemed to
have survived Vietnam combat
as if it all took place on canvas—
but he surrendered
to suicide soon after returning.
Steve’s coming into focus --
a slim warrior stepping off the landing
craft scene frozen on that canvas.
Had he stolen a bus or bulldozer
would he have been arrested?
Beaten the draft like Eddie?
Shit, quickest of foot on our block
cops would never have
fucking caught him.