Sunday, October 03, 2010
Moments Around The Campfire
With a Vietnam Vet
Cervena Barva Press
Brucie introduces the reader to what appears to be a ghost,
poems hidden in script, wrapped in a worn out leather satchel,
a gift which many still try to brush aside as a 'then thing.' The
reader is brought into the presence of verse, given an opportunity
to receive what is given, or to reject what was:
…"Harold liked to watch
the war across the bay,
tracers arching under the moon like
the 4th of July,
reflecting orange along the tongues
of the waves
in rhythm to the sounds of gunburst.
It calmed him down.
Sometimes he'd doze a little
and wake up before sunrise
and pick up
right where he left off."
The poems stark realities carry the veteran's voice deep into what
'surpasses,' why we expect a soldier to fight without an understanding
of the actuality of meanings and all the many ways to lose:
"There was a kid from Spokane named Quincy.
He went to church and didn't cuss.
He loved his girlfriend named Alice
since high school.
He stayed away from the whorehouses,
but he would drink a beer
sometimes on a real hot night.
When his "Dear John" letter arrived,
He asked for emergency leave,
but nobody gets leave for love,
so he took an R&R to Hawaii
and got on a commercial plane in Honolulu
headed for Seattle.
He figured if he could talk to Alice
he could fix everything,
but the Mps arrested him before
he got out of the airport.
They put him in the stockade for six months
and later sent him back to Da Nang
for another tour.
By the time he got home,
Alice had two daughters and a station wagon."
Each lasting story works as part of a unit, bringing the same conclusions;
coming back from disastrous 'situations' is daunting, is life altering:
…"The explosion flung his body in a somersault,
and a piece of angle from the frame stuck in his forehead
like a piece of glass might penetrate a piece of soft wood.
When he hit the tree, the impact broke his hip
and the recoil broke his jaw.
He felt pretty bad when he passed out."
…"They flew him back to the states in a commercial airplane
which landed in Oakland
on a day some protesters were demonstrating.
One of them threw a rubber filled with urine
and when it hit him, it broke
covering his face and jacket.
One of the other protesters called to him,
"welcome him, baby killer."
Tightly wrapped in clean narratives, Brucie records: "the hissing, acid
steam of monsoons…"
This is the best chapbook of the year 2010. It cuts close to the bone
with healing portraits of a real war and peace; stark, sharp, shadows…
and within the shadows of each poem is forgiveness. Bravo…Thank You
Wilderness House Literary Review
Ibbetson Street Press