Calling All Warriors

by Lisa

 

warrior

While in China, we went to see the Terracotta Warriors. The first emperor of China had 8000 life size men made out of clay to protect his butt in the afterlife. He must have been really worried. I’m thinking I would only need about 10. Okay 20. But I want mine to look like Matthew McCaugnehey. Wonder if he’d pose for me? Now in the picture above, you might say, the  warrior does not look life-size. You are very observant. This is what greets you when you walk into the museum-part of the site. Imagine my surprise upon first seeing this, before the guide clued us in as to why the warrior is holding a little modern-day girl’s hand. It makes him look so gay. I’ll bet it’s not what old Emperor Qin had in mind. I will be taking guesses in the comment section of this post. Don’t cheat and google it. I will reveal the answer next post.

The following is a poem I wrote. It is a true story, and I’m not proud of it. It happened on my flight home from China when I was deliriously tired and in no frame of mind to deal with a strange man sitting next to me.

 

Post 9/11

 

I’ve never been amongst the men who sleep while in the air.

Instead, in flight, I place my hands,

 with death’s grip on the chair.

When turbulence begins to rock the plane all to and fro,

I locate the bag from the seatback in front,

where past food needs to go.

 

 

I recently was on a flight,

in a seat beside a guy,

who made a phone call,

as the plane pushed back,

that made me fear I’d die.

 

He said four words,

in a language that,

I did not know at all.

What could it be, that four word code,

but a terrorist phone call?

 

“We have pushed off”?

“We are in route”?

“Send 70 virgins, please”?

I could not understand his tongue,

but it made me ill at ease.

 

I then perked up and observed,

as a watch he did reveal,

with the kind of dials and buttons,

James Bond would want to steal.

 

He pushed and turned the buttons,

and much to my dismay,

for there is no change in time zone,

from Cisco to LA.

 

As the plane took off my nerves were shot.

The man was nervous too.

Of course he was,

he had a job,

that very few want to do.

 

He cracked his knuckles, wormed and squirmed,

and bounced his knees about,

and once we reached our altitude and the seatbelt sign went out,

he jumped straight up and headed,

to the back where people go,

to relieve themselves, or do some deed,

that God could only know.

 

I made note, I even wrote,

 the time down for that while.

After twenty minutes,

I couldn’t stand,

the suspense another mile.

 

I called the flight attendant over,

and told her about the man,

and how he made me nervous,

like only a terrorist can.

 

She observed as how he’d been,

in the bathroom quite some time,

but didn’t seem,

 too concerned,

about potential crime.

 

Finally, the man came back,

but was no less nervous from,

relieving himself if it were true,

that that was what he’d done.

 

I watched him as he pretended to read

 the In Flight magazine,

but he flipped the pages way too fast,

to know what he had seen.

 

He was waiting for the moment,

when he would greet his God,

my mind raced wildly searching,

for how to thwart the sod.

 

Suddenly, I noticed,

I did not see his watch.

His sleeves were long, was it there?

Beneath his slippery cloth?

 

Or was it planted?

An explosive device?

In the bathroom where he’d been?

I had to know to save the plane,

of women, kids, and men.

 

My mind raced fast.

What could I do?

What any hero does.

The answer is quite obvious:

I asked what time it was.

 

He pretended not to hear me first,

as the sweat rolled down my face,

so I tapped that terrorist on the arm,

to make sure he’d hear my case.

 

I pointed to my own watch,

charading my request,

in case he didn’t speak English,

and my test would be in jest.

 

 That time he smiled nicely,

and pulled up on his sleeve.

And there the fancy watch was.

My tension did relieve.

 

 I’ve never been amongst the men who sleep while in the air.

Instead, in flight, I place my hands,

with death’s grip on the chair.

When turbulence begins to rock the plane all to and fro,

I locate the bag from the seatback in front,

where past food needs to go.

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12 Responses to Calling All Warriors

  1. wrjones says:

    This is a pretty cool poem. So glad the bomb waa a dud.

    I’ll pose for you. I look very similar to Matthew McCaugnehey. No one has noticed it yet but that is only because they ignore me.

    Ok, here is my guess – the older generation leads the younger generations.

  2. Jala Pfaff says:

    Wow. Cool that you’re sharing the feelings with us, and in poem form no less.

  3. Rhonda says:

    Good poem, horrid feelings and anxiety – glad it all worked out and the flight was relatively bomb free (to paraphrase John Cleese). Hmmm…perhaps the warrior is there to protect the younger generation?

  4. lbtowers says:

    Good guesses you guys, but not specific enough. Why are they marionettes?

  5. Susan Carlin says:

    Awww…you poor thing, to have been so nervous and with so many compounding reasons to be… I wonder if I’d have been so observant.
    Why are the ancient warrior and the modern child holding hands? And why are they marionettes? Hmmm… a Chinese version of “and a little child shall lead them”? Marionettes because we are supposed to be the playthings of the gods? A reminder that we’re tied to each other through history? Ok, that was a stretch. They’re tethered to the ceiling to insure that a swift breeze doesn’t topple the gigantic figures on museum-goers’ heads? Ok, I give up!

  6. Leslie Saeta says:

    Wow. What an amazing poem. Just so you know, I have been in two emergency landings. Both times on American Airlines, and both times there was foam and hundreds of fire trucks and ambulances on the runway when we landed. Fortunately I lived to tell about it … I am a white knuckle flier … but I have a good reason, right? Anyway, you should enter this poem in a competition, Very well done, Are you sure he wasn’t an in-flight under cover marshall?

  7. Hi Susan…
    Hope your Mother’s Day was better than your flight!!!

  8. Okay… Can you just delete that last comment… Too many orange juice and champaignes at MY luncheon!!! (not to mention the bloody mary while waiting for all the starving people to finish eating the piles and piles of food on the table so we could get a table…)

    Anyhow… LISA…. I do hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day…. (I did!… perhaps a bit too much of it.)

  9. Rebecca says:

    Awesome, Lisa! riveting. I would have the same imaginings, Im sure! You are such a great writer. :)
    Rebecca

  10. Rebecca says:

    oh, my guess as to why the enormous Qin holding the modern child’s hand? hmmm….
    I think he thought his future ancestral daughters would carry on his tradition of world domination!

  11. lbtowers says:

    Susan, NOBODY is more observant than me on a plane. I really should become an air marshall. NOT. And I liked your guess as to why they are strung up so. At least it made me laugh. But not quite what I was looking for.

    Leslie, stay out of airplanes altogether.

    Marian, ti-many-martoonis, but you deserve it. And no way am I deleting that bit of humor.

    Rebecca, and all who actually read my poem to the end, I am really impressed.

    Finally, the answer: The warrior and the doll were used in the Olympics in the opening ceremonies. HELLLLOOOOOO!!!!!! Did ANYbody watch it??? And yes, it was a symbol of the old and the new China, and bridging the gap.

  12. Rebecca says:

    Well, it was definitely worth it to get to the end! I had to take a bathroom break though; off the back deck.

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