Monday, November 12, 2012

Month of Haiku - Day 11 (a longer poem today)

In honor of Veteran's Day and in honor and remembrance of our military men and women both past and present, I share this poem that was published in the Limestone Dust Anthology in 2010.


Not so different from the fox hole,
this cardboard hut beneath the overpass;
But the sound of traffic overhead is soothing
compared to the bombs that still echo
in my dreams.

A man comes by once a week
with his bible and some prayers,
and once he brought a blanket
and a hot thermos of soup.

I accepted his prayers
and the blanket served 
my cat and me well
on cold nights
when my feet went numb.

Numbness was preferred to the blisters
I had from hours of trudging
through snake filled swamps in 'Nam.

And the soup runs warm
down my throat, but 
doesn't warm my belly
quite like Mad Dog
or Wild Turkey.

Those verses he recites
just run around in my head--
He tells me Jesus is my friend,
but Jesus wasn't the friend
I held bloody in my arms
with his chest laid wide open
muttering for his mama 
til his lips went still.


That man keeps comin' back
once a week like clockwork;
Once I ask him to bring
a pack a smokes and he does.

He asks if I have family
and I open up the  shoebox
full of yellowed snapshots--
My mama and daddy long gone
and my Melanie and the baby.

“Where are your wife and child?”
he asks me;
I tell him I don't know anymore; 
I tell him I haven't ever opened my
box for anyone but him,
and my whole body starts to shake.

The man puts his arm around my shoulder
and tells me about the time Jesus
felt forsaken by his own Father;
“Son”, he says,” this country has forsaken you,”
Then the man starts to cry
and tells me he's sorry.

I tell him it's ok
me 'n Dave, my cat,
(I named him after my dead buddy),
are doin' just fine and I light up a smoke;
The man asks for one too
and I say sure; 
Then the two of us sit under 
the overpass smoking,
the soothing sound of traffic overhead.

Month of Haiku - Day 10

prompt - foreign word

Month of Haiku - Day 9 (a tanka of sorts)

prompt - "when he's gone. . .)

Month of Haiku - Day 8

prompt - talking back to a dead poet

Month of Haiku - Day 7

prompt - circle

this second haiku appeared in Shiki Kukai, August, 2009