I Remember Carlos

                        I remember Carlos
                        a quiet boy who rarely spoke
                        in the early morning
                        freshman English class
                        I taught in my first year
                        at the junior college.
                        He often entered late
                        but I remember his smile and bright eyes.
                        His perceptive mind
                        was a sponge, absorbing thoughts, ideas,
                        reading books to expand his horizon,
                        to be different from his friends in the barrio
                        where he had grown up.
                        Not mush younger that I,
                        he told me in mid semester
                        he was leaving school
                        his girl-friend was pregnant
                        they were going to be married.
                        Rather than wait for his number
                        he had volunteered
                        and would be going
                        to Viet Nam.

                        Years later, I saw him in a restaurant
                        seated with his wife and child.
                        He thanked me for the times
                        I'd helped him and for the books
                        I sent him, but in his eyes
                        I saw the anger and the fear
                        knowing the violence
                        of which he was capable.

by Contributing Poet:     Mel Goldberg   Copyright © 2016
      ( First published in   2017 )

  The War Was Televised

                        The war was televised
                        you heard about it on NBC
                        the United States brought
                        brought democracy
                        to people in rice fields
                        who could not read and write

                        The war was televised
                        each night on the news between
                        the hours of 9 and 10
                        when the talking heads
                        made pronouncements about
                        the righteousness of killing communists
                        especially if they are Asian

                        The war was televised
                        and talked about by guests
                        on the Dick Cavett show
                        and Edward R. Murrow mentioned it
                        between ads for cigarettes.

                        The war was televised
                        the generals and politicians
                        told us we had driven back the Cong
                        for proof Dave Brinkley mentioned
                        the daily body count
                        between ads for Psycho
                        and Clint Eastwood’s new movie

by Contributing Poet:     Mel Goldberg   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   2015 )

  Old Men Dream of War

                        Too many dead. I saw their bodies rot
                        like sick cows slaughtered and I felt the shame
                        that unprepared, they perished where they fought
                        in Inchon or in Chosin just to name
                        two fights against a far-off Asian gang.
                        Our leaders did not learn. So to the jungle
                        sent us to fight at Khe Sanh and La Drang.
                        We died but old men said they did not bungle.
                        Then they sent us to fight in Muslim lands
                        with Shiite tribes who never could agree
                        with other ancient Muslim Sunni bands.
                        Our leaders said we’d bring democracy.
                        History shows that ancient hatreds churn
                        But old men dream of war and never learn.

by Contributing Poet:     Mel Goldberg   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   2015 )

Bio:   Mel Goldberg,   after earning an MA in English, taught high school and college literature and writing in California, Illinois, Arizona and as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher at Stanground College in Cambridgeshire, England. His writing has appeared online and in print magazines in The United Kingdom, The United States, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. During the Viet Nam war, he counseled young men who professed to be conscientious objectors. He quit teaching, bought a small motor home and traveled throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico for seven years, working at RV parks for my space and a little extra money. After selling his motor home, he moved to the village of Ajijic, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, and joined a small group of ex-pat writers.

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