Deposit # 28

The poetry you see here reflects
over three decades of work. I have
changed over the years as you have.
If you want to see what I write
currently, visit:

I love and appreciate you all.

Robert D. Wilson

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


*This library is in no way connected to the HSA

Robert D. Wilson's

Over 3 decades of
Haiku, senryu, haibun, tanka, haiga, and free verse Performance Poetry unlike anything you've read before.

Uplift Svetlana Marislov
as she battles an aggressive
brain cancer.
Her name means LIGHT
and we need more light in
this world.

the softness 
of petals treading

robert d. wilson

 teach me,
nature, the dance
of echoes . . . 
the song of silence
painting canyons

share with me
a breath speaking

where to sit
in a storefront window
mannequins on
leave from their senses

       stupid duck . . .
sitting on a tree limb
with wrens

a tree sculpted
        with words . . .
waiting for leaves
placed between pages 

      a hard rain . . . 
the hollow song of
bamboo flutes

is this the
song the wind sings
when waves crash . . .
and dreams fill a
young girl's pail?

       and you . . . 
painting umbrellas
with noah

rise child,
from mother's womb;
     breathe deeply . . . 
grasp the light reaching
into your heart

from a small
hut, a loom spinning

         cement blocks . . . 
a spring i'm not
quite sure of

I too 
have lived alone, 
speaking to 
the inanimate 
like good friends

     red moon . . . 
sharing my walk
with a dragon

      morning walk . . . 
i look for snipers
in a world
lit by candles
always burning

my wife's
afraid of you, mouse . . . 

for hours
she stared at a 
grave stone
talking to bones
that whispered

i look for 
her outside my head . . . 
sipping spring

this morning
a gravestone asked
me to find
its rightful place
in a daydream

     floating trash . . .  
push bubbles under
a vendor's store

i felt safe this
morning walking 
past gravestones . . . 
the morning sky
half gray, half blue

mother, was 
that you last night,
patching clouds?

like the wine
i can't drink, your
breath speeds past
me, leaving words
i reach out for

my wife sleeps,
swimming in the
echo of water

       long journey . . . 
ashes of the
 burning hut
clasp hands with those
who lived there before

upside down,
star gazing between
your legs

the smell of
a dead mouse in 
our room; the 
faerie tale i
dreamt in 3-d

the dirt on
my feet write haiku . . .
spring dreams

the flat sound 
of a bargirl cursing . . . 
in the
echoes caught between
heavy traffic

take me, leaf,
above the wheat grass
smile of autumn

i forgot
the leaves floating
past me 
are only dreams 
painting memories

bright fish?
am i too only
a winter dream?

like a wren
beating dawn with
her wings . . .
your song an odd
one smoothing stones 

the scent of
darkness between a
wintry dream

she sees spring
weave itself through
      gray clouds . . .
pink baby rats waiting
for the lizard's tongue

rose petals struggle . . .
sunday morning

is it time
for me to give back
to the earth
the clouds in my chest
dancing with words?

can spring paint dreams
on a young boy's chest?
muddied feet

how can it
be, darkness sculpting
dreams into
into tin dragons
dipped in sewage?

like human
candles, the stars scraping

robert d. wilson

      cherry blossoms . . .
their little ones!
their little ones!

When I was in Vietnam in 1968, widows of fallen soldiers came into Saigon to
work as bargirls.

It is one of the poorest countries on earth, both then and now. Earning a living is very difficult, especially for a single mother. One bargirl I met, went to the University of Saigon during the day majoring in Economics. It was her dream to one day be self-supportive and to give her children 
and extended family a good life.

Boating upriver
into a dream saved
for nights like this,
when alice sets
fire to wonderland

All of us stationed in Dong Tam at some time or another were assigned to river patrol. This entailed navigating narrow, brown water river ways in Vietnamʼs Mekong Delta through dense vegetation, partially obscured villages, and blind turns. We knew we being watched. If we passed it was impossible to ascertain if the villagers we were for or against us. The enemy didnʼt wear uniforms. Most of the time, these forays were uneventful. Sometimes, when we least expected it to, all hell would break loose, tossing us into the bowels of a dragon mirroring Danteʼs Inferno. Flame throwers belching fire; flashes of light; tracers; automatic gunfire, mortars; shrapnel; blood; out-of-control heartbeats, interwoven with the scent of death. While some of my friends in America were living the good life: cruising the boulevard, surfing, attending concerts, dancing, dating, and working towards goals, was in a jungle on the other side of the planet dancing with Alice 
in the Wonderland Amusement Park.

elephant grass . . .
a gnat whispering,
“youʼre next”

I remember the wisps of air shooting past me
like gnats as if it were yesterday. Only it was
38 years ago and I was an 18 year old sailor
serving my country on a small base in the
Mekong Delta region of the former Republic of
South Vietnam in a war that would change my
life forever.

endless summer 
a shadow pretending 
to be a god

We fought a war in a country we knew 
little to nothing about. South Vietnam 
was not in our high school textbooks. 
And there was no Discovery Channel 
 my peers and I to exotic cultures. We
were, in essence, the personification 
of Robert Hienleinʼs A Stranger in A 
Strange Land, introducing a poor 
country ravaged by a thousand years 
of war, corruption, and military 
dictatorships, the people of this 
Southeast Asian country wanted to 
be saved and delivered to the promise 
land theyʼd heard abouts in the news 
and entertainment media.

American soldiers were looked upon 
as saviors by many Vietnamese people. 
 were the embodiment of the life theyʼd 
dreamed of. Many naively thought 
weʼd win the war and turn their country 
into a miniature United States. We 
were not saviors, however, and we 
did not transform their countryʼs 
economy into one like ours. And we did not 
win the war. 

Bowing to political pressure in America, 
our Armed Forces deserted the South 
Vietnamese people, leaving in their 
wake a bloodbath for those who 
supported our country and the 
dictatorship weʼd helped place into 
power and supported.

We returned
home from the dragon to
      a new war . . .
students killed by men
trained for vietnam

How can i forget the day I disembarked from an airliner at Travis Air Force Base, seeing the U.S.A. for the first time in almost a year. Vietnam was behind me now, or so I thought. My buddies and I were given 48 hours of shore leave before we had to return to Treasure Island Naval Base below the Oakland Bay Bridge.

We went to the cheapest hotel we could find in one of the roughest neighborhoods in San Francisco. We headed for a bar
that was darker than hell, or perhaps, it was the regurgitation of Dante who'd had his filled of hell.  A man was beating a woman on the floor and I was advised
tomind my own business or risked being stabbed, It was a Black bar and I was the only White guy.  I didn't drink back then, which was an embarrassment to my buddies, and ordered a soda. Eyes rolled. If they'd sold opium, hash,or weed, I would have partaken in a microsecond.

That night we checked into our rooms. Rated triple ZZZ. The rooms smelled of urine and a cheap ammonia spray.  We smoked a joint (we'd pirated some home) and fell asleep for 25 hours.

We rarely slept a full night in Nam, and when we did, it was a light sleep, never knowing when we'd be attacked.  Unless you've been in a war, you have no idea what a soldier experiences even if you watch every was movie made. War is reality. Screens face seats and boxes of popcorn smothered with butter.

Later that night, we went to the Fillmore Auditorium, where we heard was the place to for good music and a hip time.
Before I shipped over to the Mekong Delta, Nancy Sinatra was singing, These Boots Are Made For Walking. 

The Fillmore was Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf, a circus of this and that
emceed by the Phantom of the Opera.
Walls were melting, people were melting,
a thousand silent movies draped over Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company, jugs of red mountain wine passed from hand to hand laced liberally with LSD, weaving through a
crowd that looked like toons trying on outfits in a movie studio costume room on speed.

Girls were dancing ecstatically, some without tops, Dali's brush dripping like a young stud's wet dream, in and out of the chards of lights going this way and that, undulating satyrs in an asylum, the cha cha cha of Hidy Hidy Hi, Hidy Hidy Ho,
and the cops stood by, enhaling the thick cloud of cannabis.

America had changed. It'd be a couple of days before we discovered how much.

Pray for Svetlana, Lisa, and Kirsten

*This library is in no way affiliated with the Haiku Society of America

Saturday, July 30, 2011

# 27

Robert D. Wilson's

man, disturbing a
marmot's sleep!

i saw you
in a teacup this
       morning . . .
grating nutmeg
on a precipice 

the summer
     men fell instead of . . . 
dry leaves

night's lack
of song, the belly cry
of trikes . . . 
it's hard for me to
sleep inside a cloud 

light after light,
threading nightfall 
into smiles

what if a
tilapia watched
me gasp
waiting for a
kilo of coffee?

       restless grass . . . 

a spider's web

breathing words

ah winter,
the unveiling of

look! a dead 
mouse poisoned with 
the words i
wrote to you last night
before the lunar eclipse

i saw you 
last night in a dream . . .  
breathing blossoms

i travel 
beyond the stars
into an
made of sticky rice

before dawn
an egret stands
in the quiet
waiting for my
breath to wriggle

twilight dusk . . . 
bats and candles
taper spring

hungry, i
reach out for a
moon that 
doesn't have time
to graffitti minds

depths of thought
deceiving winter . . . 
a light rain

on days like
this, i want to 
run away . . .
resurrect my mother
with her ashes

in a porridge 
of voices and trikes . . . 
another spring

my mind,
a stagnant pond
that cannot
sleep, regurgitating
my fear of failure

chase me away . . . 
with the field mouse
i've become

i lock
myself up in
a mind 
playing tug-o-war
with skeletons

it's you i
sip this afternoon,
wearing summer

i converse
with the sounds i
lock outside
of my window
playing chess with words

 cement blocks . . . 
a spring i'm not
quite sure of

I too 
have lived alone, 
speaking to 
the inanimate 
like good friends

     red moon . . . 
sharing my walk
with a dragon

      morning walk . . . 
i look for snipers
in a world
lit by candles
always burning

my wife's
   afraid of you, mouse . . . 

for hours
she stared at a 
grave stone
talking to bones
that whispered

i look for her
outside my head . . . 
sipping spring

this morning
a gravestone asked
me to find
its rightful place
in a daydream

    floating trash . . .  
push bubbles under
a vendor's store

i could
hold you again
i think of you
at night
when wind
beckons me
to enter
a dream
we shared
a time
my hand
your breast
pulled me
into a
that stubbornly
to dry

robert d. wilson


summer has ended --

what are they to you, these people

in the dragonʼs belly?

More than once, I was invited to have supper with a South Vietnamese family. The families I dined with were not rich. Most barely eked out a living. The meals they served my friends and I, however, were second to none, usually consisting of rice, shrimp, a kale-like vegetable, and dessert. The
meals were delicious and abundant. Better than the food, however, was the hospitality. Our hosts treated us like visiting royalty, insisting we eat more, giving us the best seats, continually asking us if we wanted refills for our sodas. The South Vietnamese people are some of the nicest, most considerate people on this planet.

The Viet Cong were everywhere, especially in the Mekong Delta region where I was stationed. Those who offered hospitality to American servicemen, paid a high price for their generosity. Sooner or later, they would be tortured, killed, or forced to serve as spies by the VC. The Communists were
merciless with those who sympathized with the American war effort. I have seen their handiwork first hand. Backs with burn marks and horrible bruises. Backs that had been brutally beat. And that wasnʼt the worst.

Our guests gave to us and asked for nothing in return. Never once did they pump us for information. They gave because that was who they were... generous, giving people. We, supposedly, were in South Vietnam to help and protect the people from the evils of Communism. Our presence in the war
gave many a false hope. A hope for a day when they too could be free from war and poverty.

The United States left Vietnam in 1975, withdrawing from a war that claimed an excessive amount of human lives. The Republic of South Vietnamʼs government was toppled instantaneously by the North Vietnamese armed forces. What happened next to those who helped the American war
effort was not a pretty scene. Thousands were killed. Thousands were tortured. Others were forced to attend reeducation camps. A Vietnamese friend of mine who later managed to escape from Vietnam as a boat person with his
extended family, told me of former South Vietnamese policemen who were tied spread eagle in his villageʼs square and hideously tortured as an example for all to see.

Do we, who served in the Vietnam War, ever think about our hosts today? Are we concerned about the welfare of the Vietnamese people we were formerly
charged to protect?

louder than a parrot,

     the soldier in the field . . .
drinking beer

Americans by nature are a loud lot. In comparison, the Vietnamese people are soft spoken and rarely raise
their voice. It is considered rude to yell or speak loudly. 
This is due in part to the Buddhist influence. Many times I walked through villages in the Mekong Delta. Always it was a peaceful experience. No loud music, no screaming kids, no blaring television sets; the air permeated with the soft whisper of woman doing chores, children playing, animals grazing, and the fluttering of banana leaves.

A lot of soldiers drank heavily. This is not uncommon in a war

zone. Unfortunately, the use of alcohol erases all inhibitions.
This made for loud voices, aggressive behavior, and a lack of
moral restraint. Several of my buddies drank themselves drunk
on weekend leave. Their voices pierced the quiet countryside;
their frustration, fear, and prejudices magnified tenfold.
They became obnoxious, disrespectful, and grabbed at passing
women with sexual abandon, oblivious to their complaints.
They were armed, the women were not. The only police in the
village, South Vietnamese Army guards who didnʼt want to
make waves. Unrestrained, the drunken soldiers did what they

burnt flesh and

jasmine co-mingle
this afternoon

American jets dropped napalm bombs on Viet Cong strongholds. It was also shot from flame-throwers,and 
delivered via missiles. Napalm, when it comes into 
contact with human skin, sticks to it and ignites, 
causing a person to become a human torch.

in the elephant
grass, spent shells
made of skin

Many of us in America know of someone who died in the Vietnam War. Some of my schoolmates and friends 

perished in combat. What almost never comes to mind, however, are the untold thousands of civilians who died during the war, including women and children. Missiles, mortar shells, napalm, boobytraps, and automatic weapon fire killed all who came across their path of fire. What I saw in South Vietnam will haunt me forever.

    curio shop . . .
in the back room, a woman
shredding dog meat

Dogs are eaten in Vietnam. In America, where dogs are revered as pets, the practice is repulsive. They're 

considered members of the family. Almost human. 
Vietnam, on the other hand, is an extremely poor 
country. Poverty is rampant. Starvation a stark reality. 
Having a pet dog is inconceivable. To the Vietnamese, dogs 
are a source of meat, nothing more. The meat's 
nutritious, just as safe to eat as beef or pork.

Once, during shore leave, I ate what I thought was a water buffalo sandwich in a riverfront cafe in Mytho, a small city in the Mekong Delta, not far from our base. I told the waitress, “This is good water buffalo.” She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “That not water buffalo, GI. Too expensive. That dog.”

shed your skin,
snake, in a dried up
     riverbed . . .
the rustle of leaves
the courtship of wrens