Papa's Living Room Air Show
By: John Coggin
A handful of Virginia peanuts then I sank into the sofa’s soft leather,
gazed at the Viking longship painting and bull horns on the mantelpiece,
and fidgeted for his show to begin.
I wanted no defilade from his stunt pilot tale spinning.
He flew wide loops above peer-reviewed history, played
chicken with my grandmother’s standards of decorum,
and raced me to daredevil heights of laughter.
How his cusses and uppercut punchlines
gained speed and power over country supper
of fried chicken and silver queen corn.
Only the grandfather clock dared speak while
he hopscotched across the Pacific atoll airfields,
writing his rah-rah for World War II in the skies.
Now, like a printer’s devil, I gather type and mix ink
for newly risen memories of Papa’s blarney.
John Dos Passos Coggin is a writer based in Alexandria, Virginia. His poetry has appeared in Pangyrus, The Blue Mountain Review, and Cathexis Northwest Press. He wrote an authorized biography of Florida statesman Lawton Chiles, "Walkin' Lawton." He also co-manages the John Dos Passos literary estate and serves on the advisory board of the John Dos Passos Society.