by .....© 2000 by John F. Clennan, All Rights Reserved
"In '64 we went to war,|
Mr. Bridges the blue coated turnkey of Hunters Point Correctional Facility sang his dire anthem as he led a columb of visitors down the dark twisted corridors out of the jail to cobblestone street.
It was the fall of 1983 - News from Granada had been rejuvenating. Everybody's spirits were up - except for Mr. Bridges.
Military Police Blotter was published by the legendary Bill Loepkey's Inditer Dot Com of Canada.
Against advancing illness and frustration which the legal system imposed, Bill Loepkey promoted literature and culture on the internet. It is no small recognition that his countrymen have hono[u]red Bill in their Bibliotek Nationale.
Many stories published by Inditer were written solely to respond to Donald Grant DeMan, the Inditer's primus pilus who ceaselessly encouraged other writers. Don was the keystone part of what made Inditer Dot Com a superior publication.
Grant's Stubby was more in the traditionally patriotic (Canadian) vein. Time Passages see the veterans turn a stone silence upon "super-patriots."
Stubby is now recorded in and available through Canada's National Library/Bibliotek Nationale among the archived Inditer issues in the electronic collection.
"Hey, Bridges," chided one of the lumber jacketed parole officers who had visited the jail to serve a warrant and, also to, duck out of work early on a Friday afternoon.
"Haven't you hear the news from Granada?" The officer shook a dog-eared tabloid with screaming headlines about the successful military campaign in some unheard of Caribbean Island called Granada.
Unhearing Bridges continued his dirge:
"and we was true
who seen it through,
without rhyme or reason
but never did we falter"
In a swish of a skirt, Eleanor Kynd's wavy auburn coif emerged from the column of stubble and dirty faced parole officers as the procession passed under a dangling 40-watt light bulb. "You fascists'," Ms. Kynd admonished with a devilish smile, "boast of your military might, bearing down on a little island with less military capability than - the Village of Au Sable Forks - you forget my social work brings me in touch with the veterans of a real war - the many inmates in this jail who served in Vietnam."
Bridges unhearing resumed the ballad:
What trail of tears
follow great man's fears
in hazy seasons
There were catcalls from the column of flannel plaid. "Red witch." "Communists hippie freak." "there's more contact to Legal Aid than just holding hands."
Over the disappointing murmurs, Mr. Bridges mournful wail marked time:
"In battle won
deeds were done
and a sacrifice
etched in slaughter."
The line reached the great steel door, which opened out for them into a grayish blue haze of the autumnal sunset. There were some seconds of catcalling between Ms. Kynd and the parole offices before the mass dissolved on the cobblestone street.
Watching them dispense, Mr. Bridges chanted the morose melody:
Seen in twisted traces,
of contorted faces
the forgotten graces
Standing by Mr. Bridges as he stood at the gate like the sentinel of a palace, I asked, "Ms. Kynd teases us - Veterans about this war in Granada, but..."
"Ms. Kynd," Mr. Bridges continued the thought with a sigh, "doesn't understand the hidden truth - real veterans would agree with her."
"Much as we can never admit it," I snapped with punctuated determination.
Bridges returned to his sad song:
The price assayed
never gain said
nor rewarded !
As the sun disappeared beneath the red brick factory building across the cobblestone street, Mr. Bridges concluded his hymn.
With departed faith
from every place
to laud her!
You can read more about Mr. Bridges, the turnkey of Hunter Point Correctional Facility and court poet to the less than august parole revocation tribunal in If All Men Were Angels
Is Mr. Bridges the Charon of the transformation from the factory age to the new world of electronics.
"My name is Mr. Bridges,
I man a steely gate."
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