War


When the Caissons went rolling along it was hi hi hee and the field artillery and
the grit and blood and cheery whistles of pink cheeked soldier boys even with death one skin away. Made the greatest generation, that’s what I heard. Saw it in black n white on our 12 inch TV, grainy, mythic, thin and distant.

Do you remember the posters, propaganda films, war bonds, bandages? Me neither.

But I remember live footage, young American soldiers and little Vietnamese children, skin peeling off, eyes like raw eggs, and the shaky boy soldiers when they came home, pumped full of heroin and fear, nodding off then exploding like death blasts in rice fields because something went boom. The tail pipe, the radiator, the plane flying high over head, breaking the sound barrier. Boom. And the sweating young man, the panting child, running, striking, do we think really of the glory of war, do we really?

So they sang. Young men with burnt skin and hubris crushed out like cigarette butts. Young women with dead lovers, Asian children with missing limbs, not the pretty ones adopted in the later round of after effects.

So they sang. Songs of protest and resistance, not loss and longing. Forget love. Send me back my legs, my skin, my heart broken by violence.

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