Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Conscientious/Bromige/Cheney/Fliers

(P1) Poetical

Beckman On Vietnam and David Beckman

VIETNAM AND ME


The draft board needed me to
wanted me to fill,
to fill a slot.

Smell of charcoal
and burning meat
from the family grill and all the fun
all the frolicking summer cookouts
that fun summer.

They didn’t care
didn’t care if I
sat out the war as long as
as long as I didn’t, you know, embarrass anyone.

How I refused,
refused to fake some infirmity
and take the easy way.

How I applied for --
it’s an interesting couple of words, all right --
conscientious (that’s heavy, that has implications)
conscientious objector.

How the draft board,
my father’s friends,
(How are you, Herb? How’re the kids)
asked me to define
please define for us what the hell that is

and then said yes,
you are a
we know you
know you to be
yes, we know that you’re a sincere young man.

How ten years later I awoke in a sweat
wondering who
died
who exactly died
in
my
instead of, you know,
in
my
stead.

-- David Beckman

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(P2) Philosophical
from David Bromige





life is brief


it says here








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(P3) Political

THE TRASH CAN SCHOOL OF POLITICS

Holds there is no truth greater than the stink
of the compost beneath your sink. No greater
titanic ruse to the drowning of your senses.
Or the senselessness of a dead mouse
at the doorstep of former V.P. Dick Cheney.

Sells a silly fiction that anything goes
and everything soars like the gilded eagle
perched beside the original Articles of Confederation
signed by Adams and Hancock but not read
by all the people or former V.P. Dick Cheney.

Swears by the tarot cards of the fortune teller
of all Roma festivals and raw excitement
of jaw breakers and castanets and the quick steps
of the flamenco that string us along in a milkyway
of conceit just like former V. P. Dick Cheney.

Possesses the fatalism of the dead sea of the Plastic
Killing Fields of the Pacific. The wide smile
of unilateralism is the guise of good intentions
martinis and the kiss of the sloth, muskrat
blue monkey, and mother of former V. P. Dick Cheney.

Slips a knot around each word and high fives
the graffiti of Guantanamo drop by drop by precious drop.

~Nancy Cavers Dougherty

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3 comments:

Jack Crimmins said...

On David's poem ...a fine poem by a wonderful man. Like the halting, haunting use of repetition here.

Nancy Dougherty said...

Ed - thanks again for posting my poem. I love Bromige's poem Life is Brief so it says. Indeed.

Nancy

ted.s said...

I took the opportunity at the Healdsburg salon, after David Beckman had read, to pose what i think is a better question, and will repeat it here -- how many Vietnamese might not have died had more of us taken his principled stand?

Discounting our consciences does us ill. My respects to you, David Beckman.
- Ted Sexauer