Tag Archives: Viet Nam War

BECKONING

 

Yesteryear calls out of the blue

in these piebald canyons turning brown

yawning across a shrinking creek

 

to leave a confidential message—

not in words, but deeds.  Faces,

always faces.  Big George Hubble

 

in grade school who loaned me a dime

for a lemon bar popsicle

I never paid back. Some call

 

from out of the ground

that I never knew had gone on

to find their relief.

 

Some faces leave no names,

or none I can remember,

to console me as I did them

 

during the paisley days of a jungle war

I missed for a football knee

trying to be a hero.

 

 

BEFORE DAWN

 

Coyotes connect beneath a Harvest Moon risen
to make light of night shadows, young yip solos
rush into choruses that pull at dog hearts at work—

MPs on patrol, to join them. The wet stinking green
of your jungle war, I think of you often now, pushing
sod at home forever wounded, a momentary flash

of flesh the earth is absorbing, you could not end it—
not even with poetry, though we tried and cried
over miles of lines and poles to your barricade

of stacked straw bales, trailer camped alone
in snow, to dig your way out with words—
with cowboy metaphors for a broken heart.

You see, my friend, it has become a business
advertising fear enough to make us cower
to power and profit, the ultimate redeemer,

the sanctification we endorse to be left alone
with all our hungers satisfied, give or take
a life or two of the fifty-seven thousand—

not the Western adventure for a young Marine
hero. Coyotes connect beneath a Harvest Moon
risen to make light of night shadows before dawn.

                                                                        for Rod