Archive for the ‘war’ Category

Good Morning

Posted: March 1, 2020 in Poetry, war
Tags: , , ,

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 GOOD MORNING
By David Allen

Good morning
I awake and kiss you lightly on the cheek
          (your pillow is bare)
And softly stroke your long, brown hair.
You turn in bed to face me
Looking into my eyes with eyes
I love to drown my soul in
         (there’s but one body’s impression
         there’s but one side of the bed to make).
 
I whisper softly that I love you
The radio answers with a song
          (I leave it playing all night long
          to accompany this loneliness).
 
I start to leave; you reach for my hand,
We touch 
          (the air is not as soft)
You pull me to your side
          (I stare at the pillow)
I take your head in my hands
We kiss,
Wine sweet.
 
The taste turns bitter
You slowly dissolve
Parts of you breaking apart
A jigsaw puzzle
I scream
I pick up the pieces of you
And start to glue
But the head’s on backwards.
 
My dog jumps on the bed
Scattering you around the room
On my knees I search for you
My dog licks my face
My eyes lose their sleep
I awake.
 
There is no puzzle
My dog sleeps, head nuzzled
In the crook of my arm
You are at home
Unaware that for a while
We made love in 
The life of my night.
 

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THE BOMB and CHILDREN OF THE 50s
By David Allen

When I was a reporter in Japan
I journeyed to Hiroshima
with my Japanese interpreter
to cover the 50th anniversary
of the atomic bombing
of Hiroshima.

I was stunned by what I saw.
It was a thriving city of more than a million
with only a now hallowed building
that partially survived
the day the city was turned to ashes.
This is where Chiyomi, my translator,
 grew up in the early 50s.

A half world away,
16 years after Hiroshima was leveled,
I was a tow-headed Long Island kid
hiding under my school desk,
hands over my head,
pretending I could survive
a nuclear attack on nearby New York.

Surprisingly, the children of Hiroshima
never experienced that trauma.
“We hardly ever talked about the bomb,”
Chiyomi told me.
“I think the adults — our parents, our teachers — 
tried to prevent the tragedy from touching us.”
Although there are still shadows
of people burned into sidewalks and walls
at the time bomb the Americans called “Little Man”
exploded, Chiyomi said it did not
cast a  shadow on her life.

“With the exception
of the annual memorial,
the bombing was hardly
ever on our minds,” Chiyomi said.
No one talked about it much.
The schools scrubbed
Japan’s Asian aggression clean.
So much time was spent
on ancient Japanese history —
about Shoguns and the
the Kamikazes, intense storms
that smashed two Mongol invasion fleets,
there was little time left for the most recent war.

“No one felt threatened, she said.”

We did on Long Island.
Dozens of low-budget horror movies
depicted rampaging nuclear monsters
mostly giant mutated insects,
terrorizing the countryside.

But in Hiroshima, the worst was long over.
One afternoon Chiyomi and I
interviewed a couple who survived
the devastating blast and seriously injured,
somehow  found each other
and never left each other’s side since.
Surrounding us were a dozen
family members, dazed
in  rapt attention.
They had never heard the story before.

People just didn’t talk
about the bomb that scared
and scarred the young me.
But not Chiyomi.

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