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A Commuter’s Pastoral:

crossing the Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach, California

Roger Camp

It’s a straight shot across the base,

two miles of four lane highway

bordered with a chain-link fence

and armed marines who patrol

the perimeter, a strawberry field

planted with farm workers inside.

It’s a scenic alternative

to the 405 south.

The weedy, earth-covered bunkers

riddled with rodent tunnels,

the smell of fresh mown sage,

make it a commuter’s pastoral.

Rumor has it nuclear warheads are stored here,

scattered among the crates of munitions.

A faded red wind sock droops

impotently, no planes in sight.

A hawk flies sorties overhead,

while in the underbelly

of these bucolic burrows,

behind innocuous steel doors,

hides chambered death.

Roger Camp lives in Seal Beach, CA where he muses over his orchids, walks the pier, plays blues piano and spends afternoons reading under an Angel's Trumpet with a charm of hummingbirds. When he's not at home, he's photographing in the Old World. His work has appeared in Pank, Rust+Moth, Gulf Coast, Southern Poetry Review and Nimrod. Roger Camp is the author of three photography books including the award winning Butterflies in Flight, Thames & Hudson, 2002 and Heat, Charta, Milano, 2008. His work has appeared in numerous journals including The New England Review, Pank and the New York Quarterly. His documentary photography has been awarded Europe's prestigious Leica Medal of Excellence. Represented by the Robin Rice Gallery, NYC, more of his work may be seen on

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