November 12, 2014

Confidence and Tail Guns

by Bryan Johnston in Life, Writing0 Comments

Minute Read

Les Johnston


Confidence and tail guns

Are all he possessed.

An alien land with alien air;

He invaded with the confidence

Of a young man fighting for ideals.

A glass bubble

Would either be his coffin or his throne.

Tail guns would decide.


He smiles at me from seventy years back.

Like a letter from the front, I can see the old man who will meet me at the door with a quarter and a hug.


He is dressed in full flight uniform,

Standing between his high-caliber angels.

I see my Papa, my father, myself, and my son

In one photo of one young man.


He flew to hell and back

In a transparent sarcophagus

While my father was not yet real,

And I was nothing but a distant thought.

I feel closer to him because of this picture;

This photo of a young man

With tail guns and confidence

Is my window.


He is my Papa

Speaking across the decades, smiling in the shadows, and keeping me company in the middle of death.


Bryan Johnston

Former high school English lit & drama teacher. Current writer, stand-up comedian, & improv performer. A big switch? You betcha.

International expat for 12+ years with stops in Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai, & Guangzhou. Dad to a university sophomore, an eleven-month old charmer, & the two best doggos. Lover of funny things & people. Oh, and craft beer.

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