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

Monday, March 28, 2011

# 16

Robert D. Wilson's
A library Collection of over 3 decades 
of innovative and evocative poetry 
and haiga art. Wilson is Co-founder 
and Co-owner of SIMPLY HAIKU, 
and the author of Jack Fruit Moon, 
Late For Mass, Tanka Fields, And 
Sanity Scurried, and Vietnam 

day after
day, the dragon's

robert d. wilson

the visions
we shared as boys
stayed home
when the dragon drew 
me into his lair

the drone 
of trikes painting 
autumn gray

   autumn dusk . . . 
i walk around a
dank pond
laughing at the 
moon's crooked smile

the melody
of a tomcat's song . . .
autumn dusk

i chew on
on what you  
don't say . . .
sandals covered 
with more than dust

      winter heat . . .
the rice fields aren't

street vendors
suckling an asp's venom . . .
what to them 
are television sets
and family picnics?

    moonless night . . . 
startled by a
jeepney's bark

colored lights
on a street filled 
with inns . . .
sending text messages
in-between tricks 

broken rice 
for lunch  and dinner . . .
autumn dusk

long hours 
in the rice field . . .
she looks old
now,her value lower
than a carabao's

winter night . . . 
a fawn inside me
nursing words

go ahead,
haunt me with the
of eyes living
on borrowed time

think of me
as a passerby . . . 
autumn moon

forever, walking
through tall grass . . . 
a still life boy
doing penance

when she walks
at dawn . . .  the sun
gathering dew

was that you
last night, a dim figure
beside me . . . 
in the morning, the
feint scent of lilacs?

twilight dusk ...
this lure of waves on a 
shoreline of stars

If even for
a moment I were
to wake up
with you at my side . . .
my limbs would tremble

winter morning . . .
the same vendor in
the same stall

you avoid
me this morning . . . 
is it my
breath or the after 
taste of a bad dream?

a vendor
molesting the rain . . .
harvest moon

she listens
to our conversation
like she would
a newscast, the words
fastened to captions

when i wake
up, a day moon . . .
shedding stars

what is it
that draws me to
stilt shanties?
a love affair
with old dragons?

summer moon . . .
a carabao suckles
her calf

how can i
sleep when worry
reminds me
of the children
i can't father

      winter heat . . . 
oxen licking
salt blocks 

is that you
in the spider's web . . . 
a weak cry?
a seductive song?
Homer's sirens?

night without sleep . . 
day moon

tell me
it's possible 
to place you . . . 
on a mantle with
mother's ashes

Where to go 
when windows have 
no panes, 
air flows 
through your lungs 
like Phillip Morris' 
kiss of death, 
the suits 
in Virginia
the cost to 
a small nation's poor
to every
sell their soul
fed lies
hungry goats
eating weeds 
in small spaces
built over
nuclear waste
sock monkeys
 are safe


their homes
and offices
air purifiers
paid for
by people 
who can't afford them
burping chimneys
belching dragons
made by
Toho Studios
a wind-up
character actor
hasn't stepped
on a building 
  decades . . .
help. I'm a rock
help. I'm a rock
deformed babies
help, Im a rock
help, I'm a rock
skin disease
help, I'm a rock
help, I'm a rock
Fritz Lang
on top
Empire State Building
I'm rich!
I'm rich!
I'm rich!

robert d. wilson

after the rain,
an endless line
of ants

During the Monsoon season in South Vietnam, it rained
every day, the downpour torrential, the wind a bully
punishing everything in its path. Coming from California.

I was unaccustomed to this kind of weather. I
remember one time, leaning almost to the ground in order
to walk a few hundred yards, the wind clocked at 75
miles per hour. It took me fifteen minutes to get from the
whorehouse Iʼd spent the night at in Saigon to my duty
station, a converted hotel used to house sailors traveling
in and out of country.

     two kinds of fields. . .
one for sowing,
one for dying

Laborers picking and planting rice in the rice paddies of the former
Republic of South Vietnam was a common sight. Rice is the principle
crop in Vietnam. It's eaten at every meal. The laborers I saw worked
long hours, their backs arched over, their hands calloused, the sun
overhead, emitting a heat Iʼd never experienced before in the United

The majority of the laborers in the fields were women. Many of their
husbands were dead, disabled, or fighting for the North or South
Vietnamese armies. Unlike their American counterparts, the women
wore no makeup, sunscreen, protective gloves, or work boots. Their
skinned was leathery from excessive exposure to the sun. At the end
of the work day, which started before sunrise, they returned to a home
without modern conveniences. No flush toilets, ovens, refrigerators,
air conditioners, curling irons, blenders, and other things so many of us
take for granted.

near the ground that will
claim her, the old woman
hawking rice

Retirement is something most of us living in the United States
look forward to. Thanks to Social Security and pensions, it
is a time to rest, to do the things we always wanted to do but

This is a foreign concept to the people living in the Mekong
Delta region of southern Vietnam. There are no pensions or
social security checks for the laborers in the rice fields and the
vendors in the marketplace. Life is hard. People work until they
can no longer work.

They go to work before dawn and work long hours. The only
rest they get is the rest they get at night. There are no bowling
alleys, movie theaters, and shopping centers to visit when the
work day has ended. The villagers do what people do in homes
lacking the modern conveniences we take for granted: cook,
sew, mend, repair, build, wash clothes by hand, and prepare for
the next day.

In Mytho City, it was commonplace to see old women stooping
next to the baskets of rice, fruit, or vegetables they were hawking
in the marketplace. Their skin, leathery from exposure to the
sun. Their backs, bowed from years of hard labor.
Survival, their motivation.

shortened day . . .
a monk steps into the darkness
without his robe

It was not uncommon to see saffron robed Buddhist monks
wandering through villages between our base and Mytho, the
nearest large city. They never spoke. They never smiled. They
were either alone or with other monks. The area was infested
with Viet Cong soldiers. The villagers of the Mekong Delta
wore two to keep the sun off of their heads during
the day and another to make them invisible in the inky
black darkness that never spoke. The monks were an enigma.
Religion of any kind is not tolerated by Communists. Not
today and not yesterday. The only other religious people I saw
were a couple of Vietnamese Catholic nuns who operated an
orphanage in Bien Duc, a village halfway between Mytho and
our base in Dong Tam. They too were an enigma. Were they
who they said they were? What about the monks? I remember
the time a Buddhist monk told me it would be dangerous for
me to visit a temple in Mytho. Why? So many whys.......If
only I could ask the darkness.

This resort called Hell --
Death stood before me with 
an outstretched hand

We regularly went on runs to the garbage dump a few miles
outside the Base gate. It was a public dump, although the
public seldom used it. Vietnamese villagers are a resourceful
people. They wasted nothing. They found uses for
almost anything. The poorest villagers watched as we
unloaded our garbage. Torn or stained clothing, old magazines,
half eaten food, cardboard boxes, broken furniture,
metal containers, used paper. Things we had no more use
for. Villagers combed through our garbage, looking for
items to salvage and recycle. It was a dusty, smelly, fly ridden
place. A hellish oasis in the middle of a tropical paradise.
One hot, humid summer morning stands out. My shipmates
and I had just dumped the garbage from the dayʼs duty assignment.

I pulled out a candy bar pirated from a box of sea
rations (canned and freeze dried food used by those on the
patrol boats during river duty). It tasted lousy. I tossed the
remainder of the candy bar on the dusty ground and half
buried it with my foot. The moment I pulled my foot away,
a skeletal man dove to the ground and stuffed the candy
bar, dust and all, into his mouth. He swallowed it whole.
Coming from America, I had never seen starvation before.
It was an eye opening experience for me. I am still haunted by
that moment.

flowing down 
river,petals from the
lotus flower

The day the YRBM-17, the river boat repair barge I was stationed
on, was hit by enemy rocket fire, is a day I will never
forget. It was the day the Vietnam War jumped out of the television
screen into my lap. I was eating with my shipmates in the
base chow hall when the rocket fire hit. Instinctively, we left the
cover of the chow hall and ran towards the YRBM-17. Looking
at the rockets exploding, not knowing which way to go, forcing
myself to concentrate on survival, shelving, for the moment, the
fear that wanted to surface.... focusing on the now in a sea of
adrenaline day I was sitting on the sofa with my family
watching news reports about the war, munching on popcorn.
Seemingly the next day, I was dodging rockets and automatic
fire. Out of nowhere, the telltale whistle of an incoming rocket.
My buddies and I kissed the deck, the sky raining shrapnel in
every direction. When we got back on our feet, a shipmate lay
before us in a pool of blood.

Pray for and/or project positive thoughts to 
our brothers on sisters in Japan who are the
victims of greedy corporations and politicians 
who value profit over human beings.


robert d. wilson

Saturday, March 19, 2011

# 15

Robert D. Wilson's

A depository of over 3 decades
of poetry and haiga art.

None of us will forget March 11, 2011.  An earthquake
struck Japan that registered 9.0 on the Richter Scale.
A giant tsunami followed.  The combination of the two
forces of natures caused an aftermath that resembled
the destruction caused by America's genocidal dropping
of two atomic bombs during W.W. II. 

To make matters worse, the two forces weakened the structures
of Japan's poorly designed nuclear power plants, causing plumes
of radioactive smoke to to enter an airstream that blankets the
earth.  Those who designed these nuclear reactors should be
tried for involuntary manslaughter.  Instead they sit in comfortable
office chairs in plush high-rise offices, far removed from any
danger.  Japan is on the verge of economic collapse, which will
have a great affect on the world's economy. The American government 
declared that it is unsafe for anyone to be within 80 kilometers of
the power plants.  Nuclear power plants should be outlawed.  Humans
are fallible and thus, make mistakes. There is no room for mistakes
when it comes to nuclear power. It is this Gojira (Godzilla) that will eventually
destroy life as we know it on Planet Earth . . . a power set loose that human-
kind cannot control or harness (at least so far * 3 Mile Island & Chernobyl).

More more information:

long night . . .
we listen to the
dragon's breath

rising from my
chest, a hummingbird's
heart beat . . . 
i ponder the infinite
with a child's mind

were you 
a cup of tea, i'd
welcome winter

sleep with me
in the morning
when stars like
crickets slip into
another's darkness

autumn cool . . . 
past the stars, a
bed of nails

with chafed knees,
the boy on the corner 
spoon feeds 
summer with the
back of his hand

      baby's breath . . . 
a pair of orchids 
between folds

you'd call it
hell, the alley 
beside our 
home, darkened with
a lemur's eyes

hunger eyes
me curiously . . . 
feral night

you walk in 
muddy water,
little boy . . . 
without sandals  
and your father

with sadness
in his face, wind
sings to me . . . 
a dark night without
moonlight and stars

in my brain . . .
an old carp ponders
the shoreline

a lapse of time?
walking in
circles around a lake
swallowed by dusk?

deep morning . . . 
caged dogs barking
at rats

my ex-wife
told a friend she wanted
me killed . . . 
a spectre standing 
on broken mirrors

soup made from
pork and bananas?
jack fruit moon!

what can i
say or do to stay 
the tide
of a winter
pretending to be summer?

a shadow follows
me home

in a fit 
of anger, she destroyed
the incense 
i brought with me to 
the isle of no buddha 

mosquito . . . 
you drink way too 
much coffee!

when i tell
people i've driven through
a rainbow
their world becomes
a dog chasing cars

wisps of clouds falling
short of winter

sad, the child 
staring at classmates
eating lunch . . .  
in the space he's 
reserved for dreams

does bamboo
hear her cries at night?
gentle rain

between the
clouds a low flying
dream eludes
me like an egret
staring through me

far from man,
the cloud i set
harbor in

i miss you
egret, standing in
the pond
i took my daughter to
when clouds could dream

clumps of stars . . .
orion's arrow seeks
a stray word

she listens
to us talking . . . 
a vendor
selling what no
one wants to buy

rat too,
prays inside the
dark spaces

After my tour of duty in the Vietnam War, I was flown
to an America I didn't recognize. Norman Rockwell
had been laid to rest.  In his place, a million Davy
Crockets and braless Cinderellas wondered the 
landscape aimlessly, dreaming dreams without
sleeping; their minds, neon lights, flashing on 
and off, on and off, on and off to the key of 
E minor in a coffee shop with checkered
floors and duct taped naugahyde booths
serving Farmer Brothers coffee around
the corner from City Lights Bookstore
on Columbus Street in North Beach
with Kerouac's ghost who wasn't
holy, had a thing for bebop jazz,
avocados, and larger than 
life Carol Doda signs, the
world as I knew it, turned
inside out with a
Dali-esque smile
Timothy Leary
could see
in 3-D

    late summer . . .
mr. natural on


Excerpts from
Vietnam Ruminations

Boating upriver
into a dream saved
for nights like this,
when alice sets
fi re 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
were being watched. It was impossible to ascertain if the villagers
we passed 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, descending
us into the bowels of a dragon mirroring Danteʼs Inferno.
Flame throwers belching fire; flashes of light; tracers; automatic
gunfi re, 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, I
was in a jungle on the other side of the planet dancing with Alice
in the Wonderland Amusement Park.

     cherry blossoms . . .
their babies!
their babies!

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 selfsupportive
and to give her children and extended family a 
good life.

steeped in shadows,
a dragon laying

As the war progressed, more and more South Vietnamese saw the
Americans in a dimmer light. At fi rst, we were welcomed as liberators,
idolized as symbols of freedom and prosperity, a prosperity
many hoped they could obtain if the communist insurgents were
defeated. Unfortunately, most American soldiers knew little about
the Vietnamese culture, harboring little if no respect for the people.
It was not uncommon to hear a soldier call Vietnamese people,
“Gooks,” a derogatory term similar to “nigger” or “chink.” Women
working on our Base in Dong Tam were, more often than not, looked
upon as sex objects , sometimes grabbed inappropriately against
their will. When military patrols searched through villages in search
of the enemy (the enemy was literally everywhere), the treatment of
civilians was at times, atrocious. No respect was given to the elderly,
to village officials, especially to women. Oftentimes, our example
in the former Republic of South Vietnam aided the enemy in their
recruitment of soldiers and informants.

in the jungle,
a christmas tree
made of skin

Imagine for a moment, celebrating Christmas in the
jungles of the former Republic of South Vietnam. The
year is 1968. You graduated from high school the
previous year. This is your fi rst Christmas away from
home. And the first time you have been out of
the country.

You are eating canned rations with some of your buddies.
Reminiscing about past Christmases. Making the most of
a difficult situation. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the unmistakable sound of
an incoming mortar. And another. The sky is raining shrapnel. Bullets
whiz past you. There is nowhere to hide. You and your buddies dive to
the jungle floor, your weapons aimed in the direction of enemy fire. Your
hearts beating a hundred miles an hour.

As soon as the firefight starts, it stops. It is time to clean up and assess the
damages. Your first Christmas away from home. Hanging on the tree in
front of you, bits and pieces of someone youʼd reminisced with an hour

new rice ---
a woman in the shadows
giving birth

There were people in the villages I visited in the Mekong
Delta who barely eked out a living. They lived from one
bowl of rice to another. A concept I wasnʼt familiar with
coming from a middle class family in affluent America.
Long before sunup, villagers readied themselves and their
families to work in he rice fields. They labored in the fields
well past the 8 hour work day we are used to. The weather
was sometimes 127 degrees with 100% humidity. A
day off was a luxury they could not afford, even on the

A pregnant woman did not take time off to prepare for birth,
nor could she after the baby was born. Her family had to eat.
She labored under a relentless sun, her back bent over, her
newborn in a sling hanging from her chest...the nearest
hospital, several miles away.

sunrise . . .
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

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.

March 11, 2011

i sleep in
a past
an alpha
a beta
the stomach
a catfish
give a shit
haiku and tanka
flying ban'yas
flying popes,
my bed
your bed
Japan's bed
yellow journalism
circus clowns
new laptops
dead and dying
mother's crying
father's washed to sea
in toilet tissue arks
built by
those who
designed the reactors
who dream
bigger cars
bigger houses
      everything . . .
the homeless
     pennyless . . .
no phone
dark chasm 
into an ever
the what
flying people
the fish's belly 
who isn't
a fish 
a collective
of rich cats
a hard-on
for money

robert d. wilson

That's all for this week, my friends. More 
will be uploaded in 7 days. And everything
is archived.

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