Sunday, October 03, 2010

Moments Around the Campfire With a Vietnam Vet

Moments Around The Campfire

With a Vietnam Vet

Thom Brucie

Cervena Barva Press

2010 $7.00


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 cried.

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

at Mark,

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

Welcome Home.


Irene Koronas

Poetry Editor:

Wilderness House Literary Review


Ibbetson Street Press

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