Air Raid

Air Raid Social- acrylic on cut canvas. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso

The bell rang three times back then

or someone caused the sound

a custodian, or principal,

or robot with a lightbulb on its head.

Air raid warning

ding ding ding

telling us death

could be coming out of the clouds

heavier than hail

louder than thunder

and forcing us under our desks

to protect us from something

the blast?

the fallout?

As if.

As if.


Playtime yes

and sometimes they would lead us down

into the shelter

where we would chatter away the hour

and marvel at the size of the great iron boiler

another symbol

of industrial power

of fire and heat

of the nation.


All of this exercise

under desks, underground

taught us nothing of the kind of horror

hanging in the skies

everyday every hour

from planes on endless flight patterns

or satellites making circles

around their prey,

but it did tell something

of the seriousness of the times

and later, in retrospect

how important some things might be,

JFK disregarding the advice of his generals

envoys nudging despots away from madness

teachers calming frightened kids.


Spy craft

the careful calibration of power

a world lucky enough to have a nobleĀ person

sitting in the big chair

refusing to turn a schoolhouse drill,

a lesson in preparedness,

into another lesson

in bellicosity

and the effects of atomic shock waves

one where children

hiding under desks, or

huddled in a boiler room

just disappear.


Danny Grosso





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