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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

# 27

Robert D. Wilson's

man, disturbing a
marmot's sleep!

i saw you
in a teacup this
       morning . . .
grating nutmeg
on a precipice 

the summer
     men fell instead of . . . 
dry leaves

night's lack
of song, the belly cry
of trikes . . . 
it's hard for me to
sleep inside a cloud 

light after light,
threading nightfall 
into smiles

what if a
tilapia watched
me gasp
waiting for a
kilo of coffee?

       restless grass . . . 

a spider's web

breathing words

ah winter,
the unveiling of

look! a dead 
mouse poisoned with 
the words i
wrote to you last night
before the lunar eclipse

i saw you 
last night in a dream . . .  
breathing blossoms

i travel 
beyond the stars
into an
made of sticky rice

before dawn
an egret stands
in the quiet
waiting for my
breath to wriggle

twilight dusk . . . 
bats and candles
taper spring

hungry, i
reach out for a
moon that 
doesn't have time
to graffitti minds

depths of thought
deceiving winter . . . 
a light rain

on days like
this, i want to 
run away . . .
resurrect my mother
with her ashes

in a porridge 
of voices and trikes . . . 
another spring

my mind,
a stagnant pond
that cannot
sleep, regurgitating
my fear of failure

chase me away . . . 
with the field mouse
i've become

i lock
myself up in
a mind 
playing tug-o-war
with skeletons

it's you i
sip this afternoon,
wearing summer

i converse
with the sounds i
lock outside
of my window
playing chess with words

 cement blocks . . . 
a spring i'm not
quite sure of

I too 
have lived alone, 
speaking to 
the inanimate 
like good friends

     red moon . . . 
sharing my walk
with a dragon

      morning walk . . . 
i look for snipers
in a world
lit by candles
always burning

my wife's
   afraid of you, mouse . . . 

for hours
she stared at a 
grave stone
talking to bones
that whispered

i look for her
outside my head . . . 
sipping spring

this morning
a gravestone asked
me to find
its rightful place
in a daydream

    floating trash . . .  
push bubbles under
a vendor's store

i could
hold you again
i think of you
at night
when wind
beckons me
to enter
a dream
we shared
a time
my hand
your breast
pulled me
into a
that stubbornly
to dry

robert d. wilson


summer has ended --

what are they to you, these people

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 refills 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?

louder than a parrot,

     the soldier in the field . . .
drinking beer

Americans by nature are a loud lot. In comparison, the Vietnamese people are soft spoken and rarely raise
their voice. It is considered rude to yell or speak loudly. 
This is due in part to the Buddhist influence. Many times I walked through villages in the Mekong Delta. Always it was a peaceful experience. No loud music, no screaming kids, no blaring television sets; the air permeated with the soft whisper of woman doing chores, children playing, animals grazing, and the fluttering of banana leaves.

A lot of soldiers drank heavily. This is not uncommon in a war

zone. Unfortunately, the use of alcohol erases all inhibitions.
This made for loud voices, aggressive behavior, and a lack of
moral restraint. Several of my buddies drank themselves drunk
on weekend leave. Their voices pierced the quiet countryside;
their frustration, fear, and prejudices magnified tenfold.
They became obnoxious, disrespectful, and grabbed at passing
women with sexual abandon, oblivious to their complaints.
They were armed, the women were not. The only police in the
village, South Vietnamese Army guards who didnʼt want to
make waves. Unrestrained, the drunken soldiers did what they

burnt flesh and

jasmine co-mingle
this afternoon

American jets dropped napalm bombs on Viet Cong strongholds. It was also shot from flame-throwers,and 
delivered via missiles. Napalm, when it comes into 
contact with human skin, sticks to it and ignites, 
causing a person to become a human torch.

in the elephant
grass, spent shells
made of skin

Many of us in America know of someone who died in the Vietnam War. Some of my schoolmates and friends 

perished in combat. What almost never comes to mind, however, are the untold thousands of civilians who died during the war, including women and children. Missiles, mortar shells, napalm, boobytraps, and automatic weapon fire killed all who came across their path of fire. What I saw in South Vietnam will haunt me forever.

    curio shop . . .
in the back room, a woman
shredding dog meat

Dogs are eaten in Vietnam. In America, where dogs are revered as pets, the practice is repulsive. They're 

considered members of the family. Almost human. 
Vietnam, on the other hand, is an extremely poor 
country. Poverty is rampant. Starvation a stark reality. 
Having a pet dog is inconceivable. To the Vietnamese, dogs 
are a source of meat, nothing more. The meat's 
nutritious, just as safe to eat as beef or pork.

Once, during shore leave, I ate what I thought was a water buffalo sandwich in a riverfront cafe in Mytho, a small city in the Mekong Delta, not far from our base. I told the waitress, “This is good water buffalo.” She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “That not water buffalo, GI. Too expensive. That dog.”

shed your skin,
snake, in a dried up
     riverbed . . .
the rustle of leaves
the courtship of wrens