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Jack Oct 2018
I stand at the black mound
The sun glinting off it's rain crested top
I run my hand along the wall
It seems ok

At first

I feel it rising
The pain in my leg
The loss bright flash of light
My friends body contorting
The scream that rang out
I stop myself before I get to his name

Every time I come here
I relive that day
It's seared into my brain
His scream
My shrapnel filled leg
I remember it all like it was yesterday
That's all it was though
The past
It wasn't me
It was Vietnam
tabitha Jul 2018
always take your shoes off before you cross a threshold
         if you do this, the monsters under your bed will be
            no more.
              you've been carrying your dirt around with you
                leave it at the door
                  or else all the tiny microbes that live in the gutters
                    and trash-smudged curbs will fall off
                       like snowflakes down to the floor

wear your face mask
wash your face
don't eat too much sugar

hold yourself center                        
        losing your balance has dramatic repercussions
           your mother and her motorbike depend on it
             getting around depends on it

be grateful for the sun and getting to be outside
       buildings do not satiate the wild within
         when the sun kisses your face, feel loved

don't drink the tap
try to keep your bones intact
keep your eyes open

find the fancy expat-owned markets
      dig through their trash late at night
        they are wasteful
          their trash could be your treasure

speak and laugh as loudly as you want
      set the bar high, so that growing up doesn't make you silent
        the world should know that you are here
          you're so beautiful

wash your dishes
sweep your floors
always lock the door             

don't forget that there is more splendor outside these cityscapes
      don't forget that there is suffering all around this place

translate earnestly and graciously for your elders
       for some ****** reason my native tongue is the lingua franca
         and your parents hired me to help you bridge the gap
           i am here because you are the future
             and not because of anything you did
               so be polite about it
                 and don't forget where you started
i am an english teacher in hanoi, vietnam. i teach children. not only is teaching an enriching and fascinating experience, but teaching (and subsequently learning about) the children of another culture is.... doubly interesting. they're darling and sweet and bright. anyways, i fell into teaching this one class halfway through their term. it's a science class, and i am not a science teacher. so it's been humorous, to say the least. the last lesson in the course is "survival skills", and i'm supposed to teach them how to pitch a tent, and forage for food. but this is hanoi, a massive city. there is no way to forage for food unless you're digging through the trash or stealing from a farm, and no recreational camping grounds. when are these city kids ever gonna use that? a lot of these kids never even leave. i'm not doubting its useful to know, it's just ironic. and it got me thinking. so, since i'm a procrastinator, i wrote this poem instead of working on the actual lesson plan. a list of survival tips i think to be more useful and fitting for their situation. i'm gonna go do the actual lesson plan now.
Benjamin Mar 2018
My husband

sitting on
the ledge of
or ****,

watching as the
shell of him
drinks warm Budweiser


is deaf
to our son's squeaks
of playing with
toy cars.

draws a picture
of a restored home
full of colors and
fake smiles

that we show to our

I wish
his glassy-eyed stare
and hidden breakdowns

would've been

shot or stabbed
by the Vietnamese.

I'll pack our bags,
go to my mother
who smokes non-filtered
cigarettes and blows
the smoke to my tired face.

”What did I told you?
I knew he wasn't
strong, what a ******* mouse.”

Georgia and Matthew
eat melted strawberry
ice cream in the
disturbing silence

while I try not to create
psychotic thoughts.

Those eyes
that still see blood and
broken souls
- looking at
a black and white movie

should've been
torn apart
by the forks of hungry children.
Ken Pepiton Mar 2018
Thinking of Eve Seeing First the Shiny Thing
The subtile beast, she saw eating of the tree she was
would **** her
if she ate it and she believed,
if she even touched it, she would die,
though die was something of a mystery.
What, she thought, is happening here?

The shining serpent thing
is living and eating the fruit of knowing
some thing known to this thing,
unknown to me, this shining serpent can't speak, needn't, but 'tis a beguiling
a scoff-god swallowing forbidden fruit
as nothing happens. Not dead,
what ever that may be,
why should I? Curioser
and curiosum it says, with its eyes,
"you shall know, as God knows, you shall not
surely die".
(those Kachinas, I imagine dancing off in time,
singing as the chorus of snakes,
"we hold such things as men can't hold in hands")

Oh, no, wait and see. We, you and me, we play no
past roles, no deed is redone, thoughts are rethought.

Everything has been thought, the object of thinking
is to think them again. Mr. Goethe made note of that fact,
when he thought, everything, excepting what I know,
is temporary at the moment, I recall the idea of

God knows what, but it ain't accidental,
and it ain't the misperception of decept-icons dancing
on the head of a pen.

You got that right - question - quest ions symbolize what
you do not know, so, who knows? Question marks
Symbolize the act of questioning. It's a primal need,
Wisdom, the principal thing of which
more is always desire-enabling.
Somebody beyond your knowing imagined that  right.
Would you believe the algorithm needed to program
perception of a who'll-go-rhyme,
or an I'll-go-rhythm positive knee-**** response
to the ***** of a pen or the whisper of a word,
which it is supposed, was written
by 100 monkeys with typewriters,
whacking away endlessly, balancing precariously
on the edge of the first 100 turtles
in the stack? What are the odds, eh?

Life has a plan with no plot, ought we think?
We shall not surely die, we know now, that's a lie.

Beyond believing lies, we know now, how and why
we are *****, by our own cognition.
We told us we are *****.
We, now, know that,

but here, in the pages of the book of life,
we are no longer subject to the ******* of fearing death.
Here, there is no more condemnation.
Believed lies re-cognized here,
affect no fear, we know,
the final foe fell. "It is finished" was no lie.
Take comfort here. Be still, and know,
rest prevents any
re-triggering viruses left by
the lying messenger's old fables, told as prophecy
or fair-tales oft sung as epics
pre-determining the possibility of evil winning in the end.
The words that built the lies remain,
not the lies. Evil never had a chance, life isn't fair.

The basic plot is a man-made thought, the purpose is not.
Life goes on, death never could have won
and now its power serves
to make eternal waves that keep thinkers thinking things differently.
Loneliness, after all is said and done,
is not
as common
as one might think. There's always
Details, details, details
God only knows.
Saying such a thing idly is vain.
Unless, you know, God knows.
****, that, too.
None of that here, you know.
no condemnation
Socrates was a joke, nothing new under the sun,
beyond that is no mortal's concern. Believe me.
Knowing nothing is far more difficult than men imagine.

Tongue in cheek was an old clue in fair play,
your gramps
could poke out his cheek like he had a snake in his mouth
struggling to break through sealed lips.  
Then he' tells a
fish-story and claims the magi know it true.
Tongue in cheek, so to speek, I see some missed conceptions
fructify from spores spat idly as ****** hells and damns
from tinkers tinning pots with crazy making lead solder.
Which meandered my other me to lead
Lead soldiers. I led the boys to war, that's what they were for.
It's all in the plot to make men of boys so we can help God
defend Heaven, in case…

Good versus evil and all that whole lie.
Or is it faith we must defend?
How reasonable is that? What can **** an idea like
one of the big three?

Eve knew knowing good and evil cost her.
She paid attention to
the truth of all she so suddenly knew.
she could not attempt the task of bringing
Able into the world, after the pain of Cain.

Oh, please, let Cain fulfill the promise, I cannot bear the pain,
said Adam in his shame.
Eve, on the other hand,
knew hope for joy she found in every
birth, and there were many twixt Able and Seth, all girls.
Cain had been gone for decades ere Seth came along.
Eve was o'er-joyed at the boy whose son would somehow
bring to bear the final sacrifice of travail and pain to
manifest the sons of God to play the role pre-ordained
for sons of God and their sons to play, wombed and un,
each, in his own way, the one creation groaned for,
the missing, wanted, desired, one, an
only begotten with just exactly your DNA,
one in 8 billion, a rare element, indeed.
You know.
David Park Nov 2017
There are few moments when I believe in god.
Not necessarily because of moments of piety.
But right when I hear a remote jet sound of those
Big **** Fat *******, eight engines a piece
I realize god’s fury becomes a reality.

The BUFFs finally reach their prey
And I hear someone yell
“Boy today sure is the day!”
As we hide our heads in the bunkers
The ****** ground quivers and shivers

If I had looked up into the mighty blast
I would have seen the scorched red earth
Scarred deeply with the big ***** of fire
But the sounds and trembles are enough for me
Because what needed to be scarred was the ground, not me

The blasting jet thunder and the deadly steel rain
Should be enough to blow away Charlie
The concussions alone would waste them
So we’ve all thought
Only to be proven wrong the next day by the NVA

I sometimes dream of driving my Camaro back home
Because it reminds me of what’s left in my soul
So I tried to talk with my best buddy Jim McCole
But as I glance into his head with a ******* hole
I realize once again this is **** with no parole
This poem is about Operation Arc Light of the Vietnam War.
Rebekah M Hearn Nov 2017
His legs are hairless.
He's the strongest man I know.
Inside his mind he's 18 again, trapped in a constant battle against a now aged enemy.
He's a father, grandfather even.
He sits with his back to the exit, making sure he can protect us.
He is haunted but proud.
He came home on ships full of broken toy soldiers, wound tight and released into an unknown land.
They returned him in less than pristine conditions, cracked and frayed from a war they did not ask for.
His fears and dark thoughts settle in the lines in his face and on the thick skin on his fingertips.
Pill after pill, meeting after meeting, he is tired.
He wants to wash away the things he's seen that he cannot repeat out loud to us.
"He stirs in his sleep." She says.
Trouble and reoccurring demons fighting battles behind his restless eyelids.
He fought for my future.
He fought for my freedoms.
He is my troubled soldier.
I wrote this about my grandfather who was in the Vietnam war. I'm not sure if I will ever show this to him but he himself writes poetry. He's struggled with ptsd since the day he came back, I'm too scared to ask him what haunts him.
Temporal Fugue Oct 2017
He's was down before, and he's down, again
Doesn't believe in god, but, that's OK
He doesn't believe, god, believes in him

Got his six pack, pack of Kools, a bottle of MD 20/20
He's careful too stay away, from around the schools
The kids are mean, cruel, and petty

Sleeps where he can, parks, or now and then, the shelter
He doesn't like too deal with all the rules. tools, and fools
Tries to walk the strait and narrow, always seems, to falter

Family he used to have, don't even know if he's alive
Brother tried to get him cleaned up, bout forty years ago
Lost track of him, after his tours in Vietnam, back in seventy five

Down is what he is, and down is where he'll stay
To the system, just another number, a mental refugee
Wandering the street, begging to be freed, he knows, no other, way
Far too **** many :|
Lawrence Hall Sep 2017
No, I was in the play.  I didn’t like it.
The plot, setting, and characterization
Were all wrong, and the clumsy denouement  
Was poorly written and acted.

War profiteers from John Wayne to Ken Burns
Have claimed my illegal war for their own
"**** hath no fury like a non-combatant"  
Beyond that, the VA is ashamed of me

So, thanks, but no. I'm good.  Bitter, but good
For I was in the play.  I didn’t like it.
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