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

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