Time sometimes TIME plays cruel tricks on a mind, so I have found
out in writing this one. Some names stay fresh in the mind, some
faces. Sometimes they vanish cause we hide them so deep. But I
Got off the Greyhound after thirteen months of war
Apprehensive as hell as the driver swung open the door
Stepped into the darkness, looked left and then right
Walked to the corner of main, stood beneath the street light
My mind couldn't comprehend the silence without war
Or forget the buddies I lost in the U.S. Marine Corps
I stand here shaking, but their fighting's done
There were five fire pissers now I'm the only one
Time has stolen his last name
There was my friend Jack he was the comical one
A jokester with the prophylactic stretched over the barrel of his gun
He was only in Vietnam for a matter of days
I'm sure gonna' miss his lighthearted ways
..Panel 11E - Row 002
Then there was Salvatore he was my squad leader at Lejeune
The strong, silent serious type, he was nobody's fool
He bought it in " I " Corps early in Nineteen sixty six
If any one of us were to make it he's the one I'd have picked
.Panel 07E - Row 121.
Ron the Drummer boy was nineteen and Ohio born
A teenager who could sell a hearing aid to a fresh ear of corn
But all hell broke loose at a place called Thua Thien
And Viet-fucken-Nam had claimed my best friend
.Panel 11E Row 51
Julio was a warrior but he always flashed a smile
He never met a stranger he always went the extra mile
Then in Quang Tri Province, he vanished one day
I went to see him and found a silver bird had flown him away
Now as I stand here beneath the glow of street lights
Nothing seems to matter, nothing seems right
My heart like a compass is directed towards home
Trouble is it's not here it's in a place that's war torn
I grab hold of my sea bag toss it on the next bus
Missing the friendships, the ones that I trust
I'll continue the journey, there's not much I can say
Just gonna' wait for the darkness to carry me away
Sure has been a long trip.
©12/13/2004 Richard D.Preston
THE NAMES ARE GONE
The faces are still there
Through a vague haze
But the names are gone
Erased from my mind
Is this from time
It's been thirty five years
Is this from age
I'm getting no younger
Oh where are the names
How can I forget
Something so important
These were boys and men
Who gave their all
So many years ago
I remember the few
Their names, faces and voices
That were closest to me
To the others I have forgotten
Please forgive me
Nights At Home (for RP)
are the nights
beside dim lights
staring into darkness
and long ago
perhaps we live
so that they
poetry smells of gunpowder
in my dreams
i call out
flash across the night
...always the names
carved upon black granite
the cold wind of autumn
... blurs my vision
of brothers lost
I read my friends anguish with pained heart:
stark words on a monitor screen bleeding living grief,
and search for words of my own to ease the hurting,
to offer some measure of relief.
I wonder why they are so slow in coming,
these words, so laggard in forming when
the glib responses used to be so quickly done.
They rolled so easily off my tongue.
Its as if such eloquent pain mutes
and shames my response by the depth of its
intensity. Its genuineness demands an
equally honest passion in reply.
This is real pain, palpable sorrow, pure regret;
an almost unbearable desire to alter what
cant be changed, what is forever absolute.
How do I ease this amalgam of emotions
grief, anger, bone deep sorrow, mixed with
just a little shame and an aching, endless feeling
of loss? The need to Just Stop Remembering,
if only for today. What can I say?
And I read on, the words of comfort unformed
in my brain, unable to energize the quiescent fingers
of my hands resting passively on the keyboard.
©2002 Thurman P. Woodfork
This poem was written as a response to: I hear You Call to Me by Doc Melson.
A Place Within
I follow the river
beneath the slanting compass
of the Sun
dancing within a cold breeze
blowing upon my face
and leaning upon old knees
I pass the junkyard by the steel bridge
Old and lonely things
gathered into piles of memory
'The lonely heart of an oldtime piano
..the sadness of a guitar without strings
I remember brave young men
following me home
I hear them
.....dead soldiers whispering
in the darkness as i walk
toward the warmth of home
The prayer of sleep
A Christmas Visit...(Toombs County)
the blacktop is damn boring!
...Georgia lives on a red dirt road.
"MA ITS OL CAL............OHHHHHH
DAMNNN YER HIDE BOY
COME ON HERE AND SET A BIT!"
the roads are red clay
where the good folks live.
"OHHH MERCIFUL JESUS....I NEVER EVER
THOUGHT I WOULD SEE YOU AGAIN.....CAL!"
all i had was two jars of scuppernong shine.
"THANK YA SON...AWWWWW
i still cry sometimes
wonderin why Clayton died
why blacktop is boring and why ol Georgia still lives
on a red dirt road.
listenin to a Father who crys out
in laughter ..and then in tears
for a Son
who will never come home.
on summer's tongue.
painting autumn's prayer
upon a winter sky.
A cat nursing
beneath the slanted roof
of the falling sun.
Old dogs hunting,
on the wooden porch of sleep.
The great Oak
that holds a river
in it's arms.
Moments of music,
..an old guitar.
Lips of a girl
all a man
should die for.
weeping for names upon The Wall.
Freedom glowing as a bright lantern
beside the road
that leads to home.
the prayer of family.
A Mother's eyes,
A fathers tear,
as he holds his only child.
are the dreams
of the unborn child.
The darkness moves upon a mountain
and Holy death,
holding hands upon the face of Earth.
in the sky of the mind.
lou j klaiber/caliber/RC