HOLY WEEK poems by Michael Hugh Lythgoe

BRASS
Before Gaddafi's coup
Toppled King Idris in tripoli,
Gunnery ranges at Wheelus 
Suffered daily strafing runs.
F-4 Phantoms & Super Sabres
Pitched their practice bombs
At desert targets. Fighter jocks
Flew in from England & Spain to train
All day & hit the O Club
All night--or float alone
In orange life vests & rafts
In the Mediterranean blue
Learning to survive after 
Bailout. Under starlight
& a crescent moon,
Bedouins on their camels
Came scouring for the brass
Spewed from fighter planes,
Hauled off huge bomb casings,
Breaking them for crafts.
Next morning, in the alleys
Of the souk, Arab craftsmen
Beat the brass, melding metal
into beveled trays--tattooed with
Islamic mosques, scimitars--
Treasures for the airmen's wives.
Tourists & oilmen in the bazaar
Sipped thick sweet coffee
On rugs in the tribesmen's tents,
Bargained for coffee sets--brass--
Shot from 20 millimeter guns,
Shells liberated from the Libyan sun.
MHL          Painting in upper right by Sharon Lang: "Lemons & Brass for Louise" 

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