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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Issue #9

Robert D. Wilson's

the aha with
oh yes . . .
the aha, a
cup of that was

the echo
of a thousand locusts . . .
sweeping song

the wind
between volcanos
scatters sound . . .
and in my ears,
a cattle egret
pecking notes

her maid's hands . . .
before dawn, the egg
seller's bark

when dawn
erases our
memories . . .
and dark clouds
stand over bridges

 without you . . .
an unclothed moon
weeping stars


from the grayness of

a crane's wings . . .
a memory
moored in thick mud

morning dew . . .
remembering long
ago rivers

this backstreet 
where lizards and men 
swap tales
over cheap brandy
and nowhere stars

kigo words? 
it's summer here 
all year long!

will the sun
have a place for me
under the log
i share with slugs and
newts, trying not to feel?

twilight dawn . . . 
a sigh between

late autumn
he follows the moon 
through clouds
into the darkness
children hide in closets 

an old egret,
that shanty on stilts
glued to mud

even the rain
cannot wash away
the hunger
of children hanging
on to another's dreams

without light, he
longs for the dawn
that swallows him

it's hard to
eat when crocodiles
chase you
away from the cart
your life depends on

dry wheat grass . . . 
the whiteness of
a child dying

the rats,
the cockroaches
the absence
of hope living under
a tin cathedral

a riot in front
of the barangay hall . . . 
blood moon!

with glazed eyes
a stroke victim
inches through
the memorial park
with an unlit torch

the moon and i . . . 
scattered clouds

in the
morning, rats take
their place
with children, scrounging
what dali left out

is this the gift
God gave man, a tin roof
in winter?

he picks up
coins left in front
of crypts
fearing his children's
hunger instead of God

rice pickers . . .
bridges above the
floating world

this could be
heaven, if the leaves
wrote poems
and the grass spoke
without whitman

stone, teach me
the calm of cold soil . . . 
on damp nights

look at me,
moth, i too will fly
into lights
                           fall to earth in
a poloroid snapshot

just days . . . 
turning the pages i
would've written

the road's cold,
kerouac, steamless
diesels  . . .
with a list of credits
nobody'll read

a thousand
toads, and no one
to eat them!

the dog's nose . . . 
a hundred dragons

smileless people
riding on bicycles
made somewhere else

The streets of old Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, were filled with
thousands of people riding to and from their existence on bicycles,
tricycles, and motorbikes. Almost everyone, male and female, wore a
white shirt or blouse. Cars were rare; saved for use by local military
personnel and high ranking offi cials. Vietnam is one of the poorest
nations on earth. The people were used and exploited by those in
power when I was there. They are today, as well. They hold on to
their memories, their faith, and their sense of family. It is what keeps
them going.

wearing a dragonʼs
skin, this overcast night .  .  .
the tiger!

Tet is the Vietnamese New Year. Normally, it is a time for celebration. In
1968, it was the eve of a mass offensive staged by the Viet Cong. I was
newly in country, walking with some buddies through the red light district
in downtown Saigon. It was a surreal evening. Almost dreamlike.
The weather was humid. Clouds kept the moonlight at bay. The street
was overfl owing with Vietnamese civilians and American servicemen.
Newbies, our sense of adventure was on overdrive. We wanted to see and
experience everything. No parents to tell us what we could or couldnʼt do.
There was also an intangible something in the air, like an electrical current.
Itʼs hard to describe. Something was about to come down. The calm before
the storm?

There were an unusual number of funeral processions that evening. Small
groups of Vietnamese citizens walking through the middle of the street
with a decorated casket, the deceasedʼs picture on top, carrying joss sticks
and playing indigenous instruments. Only later, after I was transferred to
my duty station in Dong Tam, did I learn the truth about the funeral processions.
They were used to transport arms and enemy soldiers into the
nationʼs capitol in preparation for the Tet Offensive.

petals replaced
with skin

What a difference a morning can make. The night
before, a couple friends and I partied in Mytho City, 
an urban center 13 miles west of our duty station in 
Dong Tam. We drank, smoked dope, and caroused with
prostitutes, our way of coping with a war we were
ill equipped to handle.

The morning after, all hell broke loose. Rockets
bombarded the base. The sky rained shrapnel. Mortars 
came from all directions. The enemy attacked when we 
least expected them to. Soldiers and base workers ran
in all directions, unsure of where to go, a path of
adrenaline in their wakes. To their battle stations 
or the nearest bunker. Our lives, for a moment, a crap 
shoot without dice.

does she dream,
this girl picking rice
before the sun wakes up?

Water buffalos were the tractors of South Vietnam. Only the well
off could afford to buy one. Those who couldnʼt, plowed the fields
with their backs... Women carrying loads on their backs no American
woman would ever agree to carry. They had no choice. It was work
in the fi elds or starve to death. People starving to death in the villages
and cities of Vietnam were an everyday occurrence.

The above haibun are excerpted from my 172 e-book, Vietnam Ruminations.
contact me:

the chair
i am
sitting in
could have been
a granite rock
pushed up
from the
millions of years ago
lucky for me
ended up next to
a babbling brook
that doesn't babble
too much
except on
when i am at work
land on it
but then again
"could have"
isn't a reality show
or chinese take home
my chair isn't
a granite rock
i'm not sitting beside
a babbling brook
the computer in front of me
oddly enough
sounding like
on loan
school cafeteria


one rerun
after another
goes by
calling me to
a bed
i've slept in
too many

a star
born to squander
effervescent light
sedimentary waste
fossil fuels
within the bowels of
a mechanized monster
belching out
faithful obedience
cosmic puppeteers  D
american leaders on strings
of greed, and self
inflated ego . . .
a nagasaki howdy doody show
too many commercials  

Excerpted from my 1984 chapbook,


"Thanks for dropping. See you next with with a brand new upload
of poetry and haiga I've created in the past 3 plus decades."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Issue 8

robert d. wilson's 
over decades of poetry and haiga

humid, the
waiting room in a
marmot's dream

a tempest,
this unstable cloud . . .
carefully tapping the air
with a bamboo cane

summer clothes . . . 
the dull sheen of
green water

wiping feet
in a jeepney,
this young boy
people swat away
like a mosquito

sipping quiet
from a c-ration can . . . 
winter night

i listen
to words
whispered from a 
girl friend's urn

twilight . . . 
fighting madness in a
pool of vomit

courts me with walls 
to the echo of a
make-believe god

   all saints eve . . .
a nation praying
to candles

no emperor
the naked boy
matter of factly
to throw-away kids

the monsoon . . .
babies on the backs 
of laborers

i tiptoe
inside your larynx
like a wren
singing songs at your
father's funeral

they live with
rain every day
walking on 
driftwood causeways
over sewage

too late
this leathery woman
without leaves

the smell of
roasted corn lures 
me into 
thoughts far from the 
calliope's laughter

on the sidewalk,
a beggar scrapping

the dance
between us sorts
darkness like
cards in a rigged
game of poker

late night . . .
outlining memories
in red

if i could
fly like a moth
i'd soar
above the moon
into undressed dreams

who will eat
these molded rolls?
autumn cold

God cut the
strings to the 
i convinced myself
was a mirror

fish, wind, bugs
drawing calligraphy
in pond phlegm?

women passing 
one dream to 
another in a 
race between moons


 thunder . . .
a leaf touching
soft loam

if i were
your ancestor, would
you stay after
the rain to watch 
a cloud turn tricks? 

sea urchins
wait for high tide . . . 
autumn monks

what will i
do if your roots
shrivel, and
branches become
chunks of charcoal

     incoming tide . . .
villagers run from
the dog catcher

how can i
forget you lying
on your side
with an outstretched cup
sleeping through winter

     humid morning . . . 
my wife's lolo
eating dilis 

dismantle your
tent and move into
the dream
you dreamt for us
polishing lilies

# for bill higginson

i flush the
mouse i killed . . . 
day moon

after noon
when heat reminds me
of the path
i chose for you . . . 
a lily bearing dew

does it bother
you, the repetition?
october squash

sadness crawls
like a maimed man
clutching a
buddy's dog tags . . .
the river that was

filling empty
vessels with air . . . 
October dawn 

eyes watch me
from a field turned
inside out . . . 
black pajamas
ancestral ashes


Dali painted me
into someone elseʼs dream
that Spring and walked away

The Spanish Surrealist, Salvadore Dali, is noted for his wild dreamlike
paintings that fl irt with madness. Nothing in his paintings are like they
seem. On closer look, the viewer sees pictures within pictures, some of
them shocking. I was not prepared for what I experienced in Vietnam
as a teenager just out of high school. I had no idea what the Vietnamese
people believed or how they thought. My only realm of experience
was my own from back home. As servicemen, we were taught nothing
about the Vietnamese. In high school, we learned nothing about
their history. Most of us originally didnʼt come to Vietnam to help the
Vietnamese people. We knew nothing about them. We came because
we were told that communism was knocking at our door and had to
be stopped to avoid a domino effect. I went, I saw, and got my mind

crossing the Mytho River,
a sampan with
two kinds of eggs

A sampan chugging across a brown water river
fueled by a diesel engine was a common sight.
Taxis, they ferried people and cargo from one
village to another. Passengers sat beside stacked
wooden crates laden with produce and poultry.
The Viet Cong used the space below the cargo to
smuggle in hand grenades, ammunition, mortars,
and guns.

Autumn dusk -
clinging to the sailorʼs shadow,
an orphan

We looked forward to the weekends. This was our time to go into
Mytho for a little rest and relaxation. Mytho is the nearest port city.
Just a few miles from our base.  It was a half hourʼs cruise by
patrol boat up the polluted Mytho River, a tributary of the
Mekong River. Ashore, we behaved as typical
sailors, visiting the bars, brothels, restaurants, dance halls,
and curio shops. In our wake was a cloud of children, hoping
for handouts of gum and candy. In a way, we were their
entertainment for the weekend. I remember one child well.
She was a nine year old orphan with a bowl shaped hairdo. And
what a mouth! She cussed like a sailor and possessed a cocky
personality. She also spoke good English. Whenever a certain
noncommissioned officer came ashore, sheʼd cling to him
like glue to paper. The NCO was the consummate drunk;
weaving in and out of the red light district with a bottle of
Crown Royal whiskey in his hand. She served dutifully as
his protector, negotiator, and interpreter. Where he was, she
was. In return, he gave her special attention, made her feel important,
and provided her with food and money. It was as if she had a father.
Then the man was shipped Stateside.

Excerpted from Vietnam Ruminations
If you would like a free pdf copy of
this 172 page book. e-mail me at

The following free verse performance poem was written
in 1984 while I was sitting in a dentist's chair waiting for
the dentist to see me.


where o where
are those thatched roof shacks
I visited a few years back
seems like a dream/distant far-off
covered with mist/smelling of
diesel fuel/churning engines
patrol boats/fluttering of hearts
joss sticks burning/ancestors burning
ashes in ceramic urns
worshipped, remembered, venerated
talked to, questioned
separated from sons/soldiers
listening and hoping
for no war/no ash
reign of buddha
mama san on matted floor
children calling papa, papa
in ashes somewhere
to be gathered, collected
no more

robert d. wilson