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          Jusef Komuniaka

    A Break from the Bush

    The South China Sea
    drives in another herd.
    The volleyball's a punching bag:
    Clem's already lost a tooth
    & Johnny's left eye is swollen shut.
    Frozen airlifted steaks burn
    on a wire grill, & miles away
    machine guns can be heard.
    Pretending we're somewhere else,
    we play harder.
    Lee Otis, the point man,
    high on Buddha grass,
    buries himself up to his neck
    in sand. "Can you see me now?
    In this spot they gonna build
    a Hilton. Invest in Paradise.
    Bang, bozos! You're dead."
    Frenchie's cassette player
    unravels Hendrix's "Purple Haze."
    Snake, 17, from Daytona,
    sits at the water's edge,
    the ash on his cigarette
    pointing to the ground
    like a crooked finger. CJ,
    who in three days will trip
    a fragmentation mine,
    runs after the ball
    into the whitecaps,