VIETNAM WAR POETRY

  Memories and Manicures

"You want color?" asks a young woman.
I choose a bright one from the severed
hand of a manikin.

She dons her mask
and attacks my old polish.
Red splinters fly,
and gone is the flower decal.

The cream's jar reads,
“Made in the USA from US
and foreign ingredients.”

I wonder—
did her mother or grandmother
escape from Saigon,
perhaps by boat?

She sprays each fingertip
and I feel the burn.
I hope the chemical compound isn’t toxic.
Marvin Gaye softly sings, What’s Going On.

All I know for sure is that my sailor came home to me.

Outside, feeling stylish,
I examine her handiwork.
Although I got what I asked for,
I hate the garish orange.

Guess I’ll have to live with it.

by Contributing Poet:     Mary Langer Thompson   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2015 )


  '69 Karmann Ghia

You were always more than a Volkswagon.
You even looked like me from the rear,
my friend said the last time she saw me drive away.
When she died, I drove you on the boulevard
and we cruised back and forth, back and forth.

Another friend refused a ride because Hitler
had his picture taken with one of your kind.
She jumpstarted you politically, even though
you sputtered and gasped when asked to turn
on your headlights to protest the Vietnam War
because someone we loved was there.

Remember he followed us for an hour
in a Maverick, just for a kiss, before he left?
When I married him, you carried us
to Bob's Big Boy and drive-in movies.

Once I heard a noise and pulled over to raise the hood.
It was my belly with your future driver,
rubbing against the steering wheel.
He would someday paint you a brighter blue.

Remember when your side was bashed?
And there were a few tickets, probably because
you looked like you were going faster than you could.

You were the last to get on the moving van to Colorado
and didn't do too well in the snow--sliding into ditches
until we adorned you with four studded snow tires.
On the return drive to California, you were
a bed in Tuba City (never enough room to make love).

Finally a young man bought you, shipped you overseas
for restoration. I picture you enjoying the sights of Europe,
close to your original, currently peaceful, home.

by Contributing Poet:     Mary Langer Thompson   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2015 )


Bio:   Mary Langer Thompson   is the author of the poetry collection, Poems in Water (Green Fuse Poetic Arts Association, 2014). In 2012-13, she was the Senior Poet Laureate of California, where she resides with her husband Dave, a Vietnam Veteran.


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