The Art of Intelligence is part of our ongoing series committed to providing a venue for the creative talents among our Intelligence professionals who work to make our lives safer— and, whose families are often in need of assistance. "Rainy Street" is a poem by U.S. Army Intelligence Officer John W. Davis, from his most recent compelation Rainy Street Stories.
Who ever heard of a 'Spy Conference'? Aren't those meetings supposed to happen on darkened, rainy street corners? Aren’t the participants forbidden to use their real names, and make contacts which last only long enough to pass along secret, coded messages? No Film Noir has a moment where participants 'break character,' the film stops, and actors mingle to discuss fantastic escapes, stolen documents, or lost persons...do they? What would a visitor to a 'Spy Conference' expect to find there, anyway? More intriguing, who would go to such a conference?
I dream... the bus arrives at my stop every night, emerging through rain and fog.
Each time I enter, they are all there. Every one. Always.
They sit quietly on either side of the aisle as I pass.
Their eyes look only at me, each in its own way.
Few know how to deal with another's sorrow. On a long ago Autumn day, not unlike any other brisk day in late 1983, I received a call. My caller said a close mutual friend, Kevin, was believed killed in a shocking bombing in southern Beirut, Lebanon. Kevin was a Marine slain by a suicide bomber who drove a non-descript truck laden with the equivalent of six tons of explosives. Upon detonation, the Marines' quarters collapsed in a cloud of acrid smoke, fire, and mammoth blocks of rubble. 241 Marines died that day and many, many more were critically wounded, sent to hospitals across the region.