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: http://wearealljapan.blogspot.com
long night . . .
we listen to the
rising from my
chest, a hummingbird's
heart beat . . .
i ponder the infinite
with a child's mind
a cup of tea, i'd
sleep with me
in the morning
when stars like
crickets slip into
autumn cool . . .
past the stars, a
bed of nails
with chafed knees,
the boy on the corner
summer with the
back of his hand
baby's breath . . .
a pair of orchids
you'd call it
hell, the alley
home, darkened with
a lemur's eyes
me curiously . . .
you walk in
little boy . . .
and your father
in his face, wind
sings to me . . .
a dark night without
moonlight and stars
in my brain . . .
an old carp ponders
a lapse of time?
circles around a lake
swallowed by dusk?
deep morning . . .
caged dogs barking
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
of a winter
pretending to be summer?
a shadow follows
in a fit
of anger, she destroyed
i brought with me to
the isle of no buddha
mosquito . . .
you drink way too
when i tell
people i've driven through
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
hear her cries at night?
clouds a low flying
me like an egret
staring through me
far from man,
the cloud i set
i miss you
egret, standing in
i took my daughter to
when clouds could dream
clumps of stars . . .
orion's arrow seeks
a stray word
to us talking . . .
selling what no
one wants to buy
prays inside the
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
late summer . . .
mr. natural on
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 . . .
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
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
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
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 . . .
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
give a shit
haiku and tanka
dead and dying
father's washed to sea
in toilet tissue arks
designed the reactors
everything . . .
pennyless . . .
into an ever
the fish's belly
of rich cats
robert d. wilson
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