APRIL 29, 1920 TO MARCH 30, 2001


MARCH 26, 2004

had a little talk
with my mother last night
those around me all  looked puzzled

after all through their eyes
she was no where in sight

see i found this piece of paper
where i had started to write
it was dated back in 68

i had come home from war
from a time when I didn't know my fate

i wanted to tell her about some feelings of guilt
that transformed into feelings of inner self hate

these are things i needed to say to her
the kind of things i'm told it's never too late

i never meant to shut you out
i know anything with you i could talk about

so i guess this is as good a time as any
this burden i carry is quite heavy
these words for you are very many

i still deal with issues concerning the war
you never asked me about my  tour

but I sensed your pain
i watched you endure

unanswered questions I have for you
about things that happened
of which and why i hadn't a clue

tell me mama why the family cried
on the day my grandfather died

you  too  had tears that seemed unending
i saw them again when my brother's life ended

why at times didn't i have tears in my eyes
didn't understand these things
that come with the dying

and then we lost another
this time it was a younger brother

only this time i couldn't hide the tears i shed
angry with the thoughts of how my brother bled

and vengeance the only thing on my mind
aor one who died before his time

and when the time for my sister came
not a clue did i have to the crying game

on the day daddy left for a better place
i had to be strong
again i hid tears on this face

and when they took  you away from me
it was hard to show the tears again you see

but what's the difference with family and friends
and men from the battlefields back then

because when i look back at the lives of comrades
who fell to their death just young lads

i took it real hard and new feelings erupted
i still had some problems with crying
but the life that was had been interrupted

but the tears were hidden
dare not to be shown
at least not while in a battle zone

same thing happened with family at home
suppose to be strong
ahowing tears and my covers are blown

and i questioned these new feelings with disbelief
these new found feelings known as grief

and when i lost the best buddy i had
i sunk into a newness inside ....
an awful pain that left me empty and  sad

i acted in rage and got very angry
.... didn't know how to chill

after all he spent a year in Nam without a scratch
ending up the victim of another's joy-kill

remember when they called me for action
when dr. king was killed
him and my best buddy
all in one week

i was on duty in another war zone
this one in the town where we lived
patrolling the streets in front of our home

and as the years passed and the stuffing stuff too
the watergate scandal  in 72

each morning the paper boy shouted with cheer
extra extra read all about it
we got ourselves another political smear

those days were sad and depressing for me
i may have even laughed but was i happy

there was this period of escalated self hate
well it was during the years of the watergate

and the local law
had their say
in how I was to act from day to day

i had so much to say back then to you
but where to start ... where was i to begin

and like so many who made back to the u.s.
the experiences were hard for us to discuss

remember the day the draft letter arrived
you got so silent your breathing barely alive

you never expressed any verbal feelings
about my leaving
i know now it was the beginning
of your personal grieving

my friend and i got lost in the streets
we knew where we were headed
and not knowing if we'd ever make it back

life seemed not worth living
but i had decided to do my part
and do my best to serve my country well

never guessed the place i was going
would be a living hell

the trip was delayed for a week
they put us up in a hotel and
gave us all the booze we could drink
and all the food we could eat

but delays like that are not very good
better to have sent us on
and the delay seemed longer as we made short stops
alaska, the phillipines for a minute or two

and then it was on to our final destination
the day we landed in vietnam
under attack was tun sa nut
and there was no return ticket ...
no turning back

the first job i had ... my intro to it
i was assigned to a detail burning shit

when a week had come and gone
i was off the detail and on my way to my unit

i got on a truck and we made the trip along highway one
i was given some ammo and a gun

as i looked out on the journey
with all my eyes could see
stranger in another country

the stinch of death was before me
you could hear the voice of battle
taking place all around

the truck finally stopped in cu chi
i was assigned to my company
nicknamed "the wolfhounds"
a fearsome lot
of the 27th infantry

i quickly learned  to put to work the training received
took heed to the words i heard in basic and ait

"it behooves you to pay attention, if you want to stay alive"
because i heard them again the moment i arrived

i didn't have much time to think of you and the family
because if i got lost in those thoughts ..
i was sure pick for the enemy

but when i got the chance
in between the silence of battle
i'd  jot down a few words ...
most times it seemed as babble

the nights were often longer
when the bullets whizzed by my head
and a fear i would soon be dead

i tried to tell you many times
about what happened to me

in the rice paddies and jungles
and stories of booby trapped mines
and charlie the enemy

i wanted so much for you to know
what it was like for me away from home

i'd wait for you to fall asleep
.... seemed like a good excuse
to maintain my silence
to bury the words deep

for not talking about it at all
but i often felt you knew
how difficult it was to tell
and being the mother that you were
you never put up a fuss

i did some things that i forgot
and i did some things i'd like to forget

and when I did come back
you and the family were my only welcome
all the other welcomes received
were so damn deceiving

your love was what I needed
at such a confusing time in my life

here I am again
for a moment
back there with those men

when I thought my time was up
you were there with me
as my eyes were closed
and battle all around
i saw a vision of you in the heavens
as I lay on the ground
flanked by my daughter and her mother

and when they took me away
from that last battle
i held on to you looking at me

because that was the day
i felt as though I passed
through the tunnel of light
to my final destiny!

but I was granted more time with you
seems like yesterday when I saw you last
you had this big smile on your face
what a blast!

i  thank you for all you've done for me
not just for me, but for family
i'll always love you
and now i at least have a clue!

            Happy Birthday!