Burning Bush Publications
is proud to announce the winner of
the People Before Profits Poetry Prize, 2004:

Jon David Andersen
for "Green World."

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Groton, Connecticut—the "Submarine Capital of the World"— sits at the mouth of the Thames River and is home to the Electric Boat Shipyard, which has for many years produced nuclear submarines for the United States Navy.

Green World
Jon David Andersen


I mow endless swatches of lawn
in the Submarine Capital of the World;
even just walking back to the truck to grab my lunch
I continue to make zero turns
and float an invisible deck. My ears roar,
my hands stick in such a grip
that I must look like a strangler. Still…

...it is peaceful sitting on the wall above the sidewalk –
people file into Paul’s Pasta across the street;
a dark-haired, full-lipped girl looks into my eyes
for a split second as she slips by laughing
in a yellow convertible; one flamboyant punk –
tall and bent like a nail – leans against a pole and smokes;
pipefitters and carpenters stride like Greek heroes
down to another shift at The Boat. I taste peanut butter
and jelly and grass clippings, listen to the block
and tackle ringing out from tall ships – one sloop
half-sunk at its dock -- and watch
the graceful cut through the Thames of a Trident.

(Which reminds me of War Hawk, the scars on his back
he got from squatting down in the missile tubes to finish
welds that dripped and seared into flesh, trapping him
in a chamber of sparks and chorus of his own screams.
Just last week he really let me have it: Protesting?
You college kids are the dumbest! There’d be no one
paying you or your Dad to mow lawns without the subs

I promise you that! and then lay down on the hot pavement
to finish welding the patch on my truck for free).

Now I hear the bells sounds in the salt air, watch
the graceful cut through the Thames of a Trident
plowing towards the deep North Atlantic: a sleek
gun-metal Leviathan carrying sun-hot fire in its belly

burning like a billion acetylene torches
or burning like the hope I tend:
that somehow we will find a way,
somehow, we will find a way to go back
on this promise we’ve all helped to make:

the end of the whole green world

 

 

Jon David Andersen lives with his wife and two children in the beautiful, struggling city of Willimantic, Connecticut. In September 2004, he returns to his job as a high school English teacher after spending two years as an at-home Dad. His work has appeared in Blue Collar Review, Connecticut Review, Pemmican (on line), The Progressive and other magazines. Curbstone Press plans to publish his first full-length manuscript in 2005.