VIETNAM WAR POETRY

  Two for Michael

                            I.   Last Jump

                        As Rangers are trained, Michael
                        jumped from the burning chopper,
                        missing whirlwind funnels of air,
                        folding into branches of a peaceful tree.

                        A path of light spread across the sky,
                        acknowledging the next leg of his tour,
                        while branches folded and snapped,
                        catapulting him over the edge.

                        Never found in search.
                        Petrified over time.


                            II.   Volunteer

                        I kneel before the Wall, distressed, touching
                        engraved family names, preceded by rank.

                        Granite dust, the pride of spent ammo,
                        covers my fingertips.
                        Patriots lament soldiers.
                        Soldiers flashback to Charlie.
                        Tell me, have you found Michael?
                        His last jump is there in the pride of the Wall.

by Contributing Poet:     Robert J. Savino   Copyright 1993
      ( First published in Incoming by Island Poets 1993 )


  Senescent Soldier

                        It's been more than forty years
                        since my cousin donated his pet
                        bobcat to the Staten Island Zoo,
                        enlisted in the Marine Corp,
                        shipped off to Da Nang
                        and left me to guard his prize
                        reptile collection, until I shipped
                        off to protect our shores.

                        It's been more than a few years now
                        since we caught up with one another
                        at the last funeral service in Florida,

                        though I heard he was recently spotted
                        in Franklin Square, long white hair
                        flowing from Saint Anthony's dome,
                        whitecaps cresting at his shoulder blades,
                        barefoot, sweeping the sidewalk
                        his mother once swept repetitively.
                        I go to speak with him.
                        He speaks to the ground,

                        outside that abandoned house,
                        closer to home.

by Contributing Poet:     Robert J. Savino   Copyright 2015
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2015 )


  Tired Eye of Imprisonment
for Michael . . . gone but not forgotten

                        Sometimes, at night, I travel through dreams
                        to find Michael, in lands strange to me,
                        unable to distinguish body from soul;
                        sleep from awareness; life from death.

                        The dream repeats and repeats
                        through burning villages with biting
                        bugs transmitting malaria.

                        A tired-eyed woman from bungalow nights
                        appears to help me forget; but body bags
                        line up like Saturday morning trash.

                        A mother is killed.
                        Her child reaches toward me,
                        his charred arms still smoking.

                        I follow bloodprints dripping behind a ghost
                        who guides my way inside the perimeter.
                        Men, whole, try to control their screaming skull.
                        Others, in part, sit silently crying,
                        consoled by those unable to see.

                        Morning arrives. I am bewildered in bedsweat,
                        trying not to remember, unable to escape.
                        I can no longer live this hell
                        or salute the jungle's grim reaper.

                        I must find peace ... I must find Michael
                        in this tired eye of imprisonment.

by Contributing Poet:     Robert J. Savino   Copyright 1994
      ( First published in Incoming II by Island Poets 1994 & Toward Forgiveness by Writer's Ink Press 2011 )


Bio:   Robert J. Savino   is a native Long Island poet, born on Whitman's Paumanok and still fishes here, for words. But it was reading Blake in high school, when it began. Blake's book of poetry became his guide as "the road to excess led to the palace of wisdom." Everything became not as ordinary as it appeared and he began a life sentence in a metaphoric mind. Robert is a Board Member of both the Long Island Poetry & Arts Archival Center and recently appointed to the Board at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. Robert is the winner of the 2008 Oberon Poetry Prize. His books include fireballs of an illuminated scarecrow and his first full-length collection Inside a Turtle Shell (a diverse journey of paths crossed, family and friends ... lost and found).


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