Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 3, 2009

Time flies! Just yesterday I was in the Mekong Delta, wondering if a bullet, rocket, or mortar would have my name on it. 18 years old, fresh out of high school, no counter- insurgency training, no prep, a naive middle class guy, sent almost overnight into the belly of the Dragon. The first night in Nam, like every sailor new in the country, I walked through the main drag in Saigon, a wild toad ride where bargirls were everywhere, grabbing your crotch, putting their blouse over your head (braless, of course), anything to get you into the club they worked in, buy them drinks (saigon tea), and take them to bed. $5 for short-time and $10 for overnight. Away from home, sowing my wild oats,falling for every con in the book, I felt like Hugh Hefner on speed.

A week later, the party ended. I was flown by chopper to my permanent duty station in the heart of the Mekong Delta, a flat bed of rice paddies that looked like a patchwork quilt made of mirrors laced liberally with canals. With the weather averaging 127 degrees F, I felt like Sponge Bob, my uniform drenched with sweat, the gunner I sat next to told me to look for VC (Viet Cong). He told me the average life span of a chopper gunner was 12 minutes if you were being shot at. He never took his hands off of the 50 caliber machine gun, edgy, hyper alert, responsible for the crew aboard the gunship.

I was in a dream inside of a dream, nothing I'd seen or experienced before, and nothing like what I saw on the television newscasts at home. I wasn't watching a glass god eating potato chips, senseless to the feelings those I watched were feeling. The Cheshire Cat met us in Mytho, the city nearest our base, Dong Tam. We were boarded into a truck that drove us through a winding, partially unpaved road, seeing tall palm trees, thatched roof hut villages, and people walk around in silk pajamas and handmade cone shaped bamboo hats, old men with long stringy white beards, bald headed Buddhist monks wearing saffron robes, an occasional motorbike, bicycle, and water buffalo carrying passengers, and rice paddies every where you looked . . . flooded fields of water populated by human arched bridges, picking or planting rice. Oops, I forget to mention I came into the country during the TET Offensive (TET is the Chinese new year), when all hell broke out in Vietnam and the war, which the American government insanely called a POLICE ACTION, escalated 100 fold. Saigon was attacked, VC and members of the North Vietnam regular army, unseen ghosts (your friends during the day, your enemies at night) living in the shadows, underground tunnel cities, and Buddhist temples.

Boom! A sniper out of nowhere shot at our truck. The truck screeched to a halt, how dumb, and we ordered by the NCO in charge to jump out with our M-16 caliber automatic rifles and look for a needle in a haystack. A few minutes later, having not found the needle, we boarded the truck and drove to our new duty station, a dry field, that was once underwater facing a bay connected to the Mytho River via series of canals ten to thirty feet wide, a world of hidden eyes watching our every move. During my first three weeks our base was mortared and/or rocketed seven times a night. So much for sleep. Every incoming mortar getting closer and closer, their loud explosive thuds, sounding like the footsteps of Godzilla. Welcome to what for me became the seeds that built the Wonderland Amusement Park, a mental, all to real place where nothing was what it seemed. And that was only the first three weeks!

Welcome to the mind of Robert D. Wilson, the Wonderland Amusement Park, where
reality is fused with truth, dreams, all too real flashbacks, personal mythology ala William
Blake; Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Coney Island of The Mind with the addition of firefights, napalmed human torches, torture, sleeplessness, access to high grade opium, marijuana, and hashish, a long way from home, in a culture totally foreign to us, not knowing if we'd
live or die.

Ride the rides, feeeeeeeeeeeeeel them, a thousand white owls swooping through darkness,
and please, don't even think of bringing your children.


They gave up

waiting for my

weekly calls; the

two children I sired,

but couldn't have

a long line

waiting for cheap rice . . .

short nights

she wont' tell

me the reason she waddles

through the trash . . .

her conscience riding a

store front merry-o-ground

morning rain . . .

absorbing our dog's

faint yelps

how can i

understand the breath

of one who

plows the heavens with


lost, the moon

stumbles through winter . . .



water, an empty stare . . .

the end to

a surreal walk

through wonderland

the stars . . .

each of them a voice

i can't hear

can she be

a whore for a couple

nights, folding

clouds into

a newborn baby?

burning trash . . .

winter, an egret

without wings

every night

i watch pirated

movies . . .

drinking margaritas

with stuffed animals

a puppet

under the foot bridge . . ..


a voice,

nothing more, the


sculpting mountains

into forget-me-nots

a small boy . . .

waiting for snow in a

bamboo grove

lay beside

me tonight, blanketed

in skin . . .

watching action movies

in buddha's belly


your dance, dawn, the same as

dusk, sans coffee

short lived, the

the memories

we exchanged

in puberty, living

inside robert crumb's brain

her eyes, a

television channel

singing winter

it is

difficult to


the when and where

when time has no end

almost dawn . . .

a full moon that

doesn't stir

the smile on

your face reminds me

of a teen

planning the first

of many dates

peach trees . . .

the younger ones

are sweetest

she plays coy

at the the mall

with me . . .

knowing all the men

are staring at her

poor frog . . .

jumps into a fry pan

forged in spring

i thought

she dressed sexy

for me . . .

an unstable wind

pushing limits

feigning fear,

the smell of


today could

pivot us into

a frontier

beyond the synaptic

grasp of too much

eyes, whispers . . .

a gaggle of bamboo

sans water

promise me

anything, kano . . .

i'll leave

the nightly dance

of rats on my roof

ox, a year's

named after you . . .

then what?

robert d. wilson


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