Old Bird Man and the Maskirovka Sea

…and the Moon’s gravity tugged
Atlantic Ocean and Soviet missiles
toward US blockade and Mariel Bay –
It was General LeMay Day!
Dark eyed Soviet sailor, Peter Biryuszov,
stood alone upon deck, a brilliant star sky,
he had no idea about hell broth mission,
wore ski boots and fleece-lined parka.
Any second now, Peter longed for Nikita’s
order to stop dead, Megiddo Missile
delivery cancellation to Cuba,
he would relish calm dips in Neva River.

Peter removed Red Star hoods,
unveiled his two handsome eagle heads,
from which Golden Horde ran away in fear.
Like Fidel Castro,
Peter denied Batista and Phoenix gods,
he remembered cutting onions in Sochi hotel,
“Must hammer and sickle rest of my life!”
Alert east and west,
Peter stiffened feathers against tide
and the scary American naval blockade.
Spinning wind, he heard faraway voices,
dying John XXIII and Khrushchev lament,
“Che Guevara is opposed to a
rapprochement with John F. Kennedy.”

Tide in-and-out, 1962, Peter cast line into ocean,
waited Kremlin word, pondered,
“Who will be the first sailor to net a warhead”

Seventy five years old,
Peter survived Thirteen M.A.D. Days at sea.
His freak bird face still frightens Pershings,
he eavesdrops on everything, nothing vanishes:
Jupiter missiles out of Turkey,
NATO the new Warsaw Pact,
Khomeini cassettes sold outside Vatican City,
US and Saudis smoke California grass,
a Cuban cigar worth more than barrel of Rubles,
Chinese neo-liberal economists study Torah,
the Russian oil man peddles Damocles T-shirts,
and Hilton Havana has room for you!

Roar of Maskirovka Sea, rumors of cyberwar,
Raoul dared, let gamblers double-down on Cuba.
Peter gripped row boat’s rickety wood sides,
winds moved communism south to Visakhaptnam.
His hands too slippery for Jesus’s embargo,
Sony was a solidly Putin color town,
Peter rushed to cover twin feather heads
with Cossack surplus hoods –
In the end,
nothing made much sense to Peter,
and why am I so afraid for Hemingway’s catch?

• “Maskirovka”, Russian word meaning deception, concealment.

Charles Orloski lives in Taylor, Pa. He can be reached at: ChucktheZek@aol.com. . Read other articles by Charles.