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

Thursday, June 16, 2011

# 25

Robert D. Wilson's

what are
     seasons to a city . . . 
without stars?

"Remember our brothers and sisters in Japan."

I will send anyone who asks,
a FREE  pdf COPY of my book,
I believe that poetry belongs to
the people and not just to those 
who can afford the high price of
ordering books overseas and the
hefty S&H costs.

does she hear 
the music she dances
to at dawn . . .
the cries of her baby
sandwiched between tin?

polling through
dense fog; oarsman
or foe?
the rustle of 
egrets dreaming

    her eyes . . . 
watching a crow

through her tonight, 
a rainbow
colored dragon 
caught between mirrors

     autumn night . . . 
my imagination
stirring stars

i dive
again into the
dragon's dreams
looking for the 
you i never left

swimming through
      heaven's river . . . 
the quiet!

i almost
forgot you the day
i laid in
vomit thinking i was 
on to something new

      late winter . . . 
the echos that
aren't there

 the wind sings 
through me in a high 
     soprano . . . 
if only i could be
made to laugh again

comets streak
    below the dock . . . 
incoming tide

i walk into
this poem sated
with sadness
knowing children
sleep on sidewalks

     almost spring . . .
sharing my bed with

looking at
the world through a straw
      used before . . . 
a vendor's child
sipping day dreams

    swirling winds . . . 
my mind floating in a
lid-less toilet

where will you
take me next when
the winds 
change and what i 
know turns to ash?

crash landing
on stone buddha's palm 
. . . stillness

      scattered clouds . . . 
a two year old
sleeps on a 
dirty sheet of cardboard
beside the highway

      hang-town sun . . . 
the blank look in 
the beggar's eyes

i never did
see her face, her
voice weaving
in and out of 
my cerebellum

rain today?
the long ride on a bus
to nowhere

a sad dream,
      this shopping mall . . . 
no one
you know will pass
the test of mirrors

what's a new
toy to a child
glued to summer?

go, enter
the mirror this mall
is to you . . . 
a ticket to
the depths of hell

will you go
to school unbathed?
stale wind

want to be
the kid no one
wants to sit 
next to in school?
durian fruit

a dreamer,
she watches clouds 
through tin walls

what happens
when the name you
once wrote
stumbles down the
street with glazed eyes

the heat 
        framing your lips . .. .
dancing moon

                                                               nearing spring . . . 
a half dressed moon
sipping brandy

from the
jeepney's window
bored bargirls
talking to their children
on cell phone phalluses

      summer moon . . .
you held me like it
was winter

i want to
kiss you again
under the 
table when avocados
aren't in season

draw me in
your dreams, when
summer coughs

he sips mango
juice with an under
aged girl
he'll only see
again in dreams

the eggplant 
tonight, and the kiss 
we both wanted

mango juice under a
microscope . . . 
i think of the med student
with worn out shoes

in a world 
of talking tables . . .
our words

driving through
you into a painting
of winter . . .
gessoed with
carbine monoxide

frida kahlo
turned up
other day
made in
her brush
Henry Ford
painted over
her husband,
diego rivera's
a picture
heaven help 
a commie
stared at them

robert d. wilson

no one told
me my brain would
when i returned home
from the dragon's nest

the sky rained rockets
that lanternless night --
umbrellas useless

The whistle of an incoming rocket. It came when we
least expected it to. A shrill, airy whistle not unlike the
sound emitted by skyrockets at a fireworks show. As the
sound grew louder, the muscles in our bodies tightened;
our nerves tensed. We dove for cover and prayed that it
didnʼt have our names on it. When it exploded, deadly
shrapnel (chards of sharp metal) shot out like tiny bullets,
cutting a murderous path. This was in addition to the
crater the explosion created. When the sky rained rockets,
no one was safe.

swallowed by 
       the earth this autumn day . . . 
dreams undreamt

Thousands of people died in the Vietnam War. Not all of the dead were soldiers. Many were innocent civilians. People with no axe to grind. No political goal to fulfill. Men, women, and children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their lives snuffed out by napalm, bombs, hand grenades, mortars, rockets, automatic rifle-fire, knives, and human hands. There are no shiny black memorials to commemorate their existence and the sacrifice they made. Their dreams, their hopes, their aspirations relegated to what could have been. And for what? A war, Americaʼs leaders now say, should not have been. The memory of these people should not be forgotten.

forced to shoot 
others, this manchild, one year
a thousand summers

Nothing changes a young teenager quicker than when he is forced to kill another human being. Young boys were drafted into the Vietnam War right after graduation from high school. At eighteen, their lives had centered around going to school, playing sports, courting girls, helping out at home, and other youthful pursuits. Overnight, they were transported across the ocean to a foreign land where they were armed with automatic rifles (machine guns) and told to shoot the enemy if attacked. 

I had a friend who was forced to shoot a nine year old girl who charged at him with a hand grenade. He told me it was
the most horrible thing he ever had to do, killing a little child. But as he told me, “What else could I do? It was kill or be killed.” 

The taking of a human life changes a person forever. Gone is the innocence of youth, the naivete of adolescence. Some soldiers had to kill others on a daily basis, witnessing some of the most gruesome sights imaginable. Psychologically, of course, it took its toll. Some of my friends had glazed over eyes. Others drank or drugged themselves to oblivion on a nightly basis. Others I know are plagued even today by horrendous dreams of what they experienced and saw during their stay in South Vietnam.

The sad thing is, when we returned stateside, after completing our tour of duty, few of us received counseling. After discharge, we were sent back into the civilian world, emotionally dysfunctional. Drug addiction, alcoholism, and post traumatic stress syndrome laid waste to many of my fellow servicemen. I too, went through hell and back. It was only through years of counseling and spiritual journeying that I
was able to rise up from the chasm of self destruction and reoccurring spectres to a headspace where I openly face the dragon that followed me home. And yet . . . I feel like Don Quixote, battling windmills, surrounded by a thousand mirrors,
the nightmare refusing to let go; peace of mind a bad joke
my brothers at the VA medical clinic have heard over and over and over again.

      summer's end . . .
 those children screaming 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 refi lls 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?

a jasmine flower
in hellʼs bosom

The former Republic of South Vietnam was an enigma for those of us who fought there during the war. It was a mixture of heaven and hell. Hell, because of the war. A war that forever changed our lives, took away our innocence, and left us with emotional scars that will haunt us until we die. 

The sights and sounds of that war are not the kind that go away. We saw and experienced things at a young age
no young person should have to see or experience: unfathomable horror. Bleak loneliness. And a fear that leaves you numb for days afterwards. We were sent to the battlefields without psychological preparation. 

And when we returned Stateside, most of us were
denied counseling. The Republic of South Vietnam was also heaven. Heaven, because it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, bar none. I was stationed in the Mekong Delta region, a rich rainforest laced with intersecting rivers and waterways. It was like living inside a National Geographic Magazine centerspread. There were tall palm trees, lush
green foliage, beautiful fl owers, exotic animals, and much more. A nature photographerʼs dream come true.
A touch of Hell. A touch of Heaven.

     papa . . .
you didnʼt show me how to
plow the field

Children lost their fathers during the Vietn am War. Some lost their mothers. On both sides. Lessons untaught. Examples unlearned. Lives scarred by anger, loneliness, and the absence of a primary role model. One day, a parent is there. The next day, he or she is not. War shows no mercy, no preference. People die. Families are torn apart. We must not forget this. 

I long for a day, idealistic me, when war is no longer a reality. I saw firsthand, the ravages of war. Soldiers and civilians were shot, maimed, and psychologically scarred for life. Over a million lives needlessly erased from this earth. And for what? Oil? Tungsten? Rubber? Power? Where were the politicianʼs sons and daughters during the war?


twilight dawn . . .
an old man talking to
his father's ashes

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