Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 13, 2010

 A Jack-In-The-Box  World

my landlord 
for the night,walls 
that can't speak

robert d. wilson

As I said, the America I returned home to was a different America.  Battle lines were drawn. "Normal culture versus Counter culture."  Back in Vietnam I felt like a bad ass savior who was doing the South Vietnamese people  favor, risking my life so the Vietnamese  could enjoy the fruits of democracy.  I was naive, a teenager who believed everything he read in history textbooks and saw on newscasts paid for by big monied sponsors.  I didn't know that The Republic of South Vietnam was ruled by a ruthless dictator who killed thousands of Vietnamese, and ruled with an iron hand where freedom of the press and speech were crimes punishable by death if the dictator disagreed with what was said or written.

I also didn't know that Shell Oil Company and Firestone Rubber had big holdings there, nor did I know that South Vietnam was a mineral rich wonderland compared to North VIetnam, and that it contained approximately 90% of the world's titanium.  And poorly educated me, don't believe what you read in high school and middle school textbooks, and half of what you read in college texts: one of my degrees is in World History); the country had been at war for over a thousand years with bordering countries, China, Japan, the French, and Communist North Vietnam who desperately wanted a piece of the pie.  The North Vietnamese speak a different dialect and look down on the South Vietnamese as a lower class of people. Although the French divided the Vietnam into two nations, the South and the North, the reason the Northerners wanted to reunite the two nations into one was not a patriotic or charitable act.  They were lusting for the riches they lacked in the North.

I remember asking an old papa san, a long white bearded leathery skinned man dressed in black silk pajamas and a straw cone hat if he was glad the United States were fighting for his freedom?  I didn't expect the answer he gave me.  "We don't like you Americans and we don't like the North Vietnamese.  We just want everyone to leave us alone so we can farm and feed our families."  That was a sentence that germinated into a whole new conceptualization of the War our government labeled a Police Action.  

Two weeks after returning to the States, I volunteered to live in an AWOL (Absent Without Leave) sanctuary for military deserters opposed to participating in what they felt was an un-just war, housed in a two story Unitarian Church.  I quickly became the vice chairman of the sanctuary's vice-chairperson, which also served as a commune where LSD, Mescaline, and Pot ran freely and free sex was openly practiced at a time when AIDS and HIV didn't exist.

Every girl was on the pill,  and laying on surrealistic pillows with white rabbits and Mad Hatters were the drill of the day.  None of us worked, food was donated by the parishioners, and we made national news.  I got stoned day and night

Sang Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane in her song:

"One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small,

And the ones that mother gives you

Don't do anything at all.

Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall.

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall,
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call."

One day early in the morning before dawn, FBI, GTF, Marine Police, and the county Sheriff's office broke into the Church (I guess sanctuary was outdated by then, the Hunchback of Notre Dame long dead. They woke us up in our various bedrooms, I was naked having sex with a pretty hippy girl . . . the officers rude, pushy demanding, and in a hurry.  This had to be a flash lightening before dawn raid to avoid publicity as they were raiding a church, which would rile up a lot of people . . . without press coverage, no one would take the word of long haired, oddly dressed hippies, most of them stoned.  The various law enforcement agencies would have time to doctor up press releases that would make them look good and generous small space if any in the newspapers.  I'll never forget the look on one of the Marine deserters staring at us from the back of a Sheriff's car, with fear in his eyes . . . he would be tortured, I've seen such torture, and be turned into a zombie-like soldier who's every move will be controlled by the blowing of a whistle and sarcastic, cruel laughter.  The statutes of the U.S. Constitution was null and void for servicemen in brigs and prisons in that era.  

Neither were they applicable to war protesters.  I remember a group of young adults and almost adults, of which I was a part, (we consisted of approximately 15 to 20 people) who met at an Orange County, California public park to sing anti-war songs. It wasn't an organized event.   Other then dressing a little differently, we did nothing a church group might do . . . sang songs and shared our feelings.  There was no amplification, our actions peaceful, and none of us peed on trees or smoked dope.  30 minutes into the sing-in, a trio of policemen walked uo to us and asked, as if they didn't know) if we had a permit to have a rally at the park.  A rally consisting of 15 to 20 people?  I told the officers that we weren't having a rally that we met to sing songs against the war, share our feelings, nothing that a church group wouln't do except for the theme of the songs we sang.  They said we had to break up or be arrested.  Immediately we were herded by a larger group of city policemen and women onto a small two lane street behind the park.  Other war protestors and hippies (were there any for the war?) saw what was happening and began complaining, calling our removal from the park a breach of our rights (which was a correct assessment), and joined us.  The police herded us faster and faster, and when one girl fell on the ground, four policemen held her down spread eagle while a fourth cop clubbed her with a baton.  We exploded and started throwing rocks at these bullies in uniform, the girl's body bleeding, her voice yelling out for help.  We turned on the cops.  Our group which had grown bigger and bigger.  The cops knew they were out manned and fled.  Ten minutes later a Swat team came with tear gas and rubber bullets . . . All because a group of peaceful young people met informally in a public park to sing songs and share their beliefs

"And if you go chasing rabbits

And you know you're going to fall,

Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call."

Yes, the America I'd left had changed or, more probable, I'd changed in the 11 months I'd served in Vietnam.  During that time, young people throughout America were changing their beliefs, losing faith in a dream that appeared to be filled with holes and was a smoke screen for America's rich.  They became in a way, lost; explorers  looking for an alternative to the pablum they'd been spoon fed by Doctor Spock and the Saturday Evening Post.  They had brothers, boyfriends, and school mates who lost their lives or were maimed for life for what?  A war we turned tail on and deserted, leaving those who depended on us to face Godless communists; an Armed Forces whose members more often than not, called the Vietnamese, gooks.

Welcome once more to the troubled mind of a man who couldn't be politically correct if he wanted to,. A man who offends the norm, and feels ill at ease with people, especially women, who at one time were some of his closest friends; a man who has no friends here in the Philippines, whose wife sees him as . . . something, I'm not sure what.  Recently almost my entire staff at Simply Haiku revolted against me behind my back and said publically that I was a tyrant who bullied his staff, even though I'd rarely talked with them and usually when I did, I complimented them.  Maybe some day I'll see the light and realize I'm Dr, Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, or, at least, The Monster that Devoured Cleveland.  I give and get nothing much in return.  I dislike Christmas and my birthday, and want just to live my final days on this planet, in peace and harmony; something I haven't felt since the day I landed in Saigon.  Go ask Alice, my alter ego.

young girls . . .
walk into a web
shouting, "summer!"

read again
the stories you read
to me when
i was a mirror
easily molded

cheap brandy . . .
young fathers toast

in a dream
i slipped out of
your womb . . .
under an elm tree
made of paper

the tango of busses
chasing dawn

local girls
give themselves to
fat kanos . . .
like candy bars
without thought of braces

morning dawn . . . .
i listen to the stars
speak spanish

does she dream,
the bridge in the field
bowing to
the god she pours ulam*
on every day?

*ulum: a food topping spooned over rice

early spring  . . .
sanity in a pool
of vomit

the farmer
takes a soil sample
every month . . .
the lord of rice
eating snails

acid trip . . .
driving to big sur
in the fog

later, when
the water clears and
stars get dressed,
we can speak about
the plan i have

strong winds . . .
sweeping the pathway
for summer

what is it
about the guilt
you feel?
i too, wrestle guilt
in my own vomit

shadow calls
on me to climb trees . . .
strong wind

why they call
it here a brown-out
makes no sense . . .
when i close my eyes
hues float past me sighing

i'd trade
places with you now . . .
leaving spring

in the mute
night of a thousand
mornings . . .
thoughts paint short lived
canvases that melt

scatter my
ashes in in a tea cup
and drink me . . .

girls sell their
bodies to the highest
bidder . . .
not knowing the hell
unseen on cable t.v.

it was the
thing to fuck the world . . .
that summer

i watched
myself on t.v.
in the den
while detectives
seached for marijuana

live t.v. . . .
the summer i took

the mental
ward in my mind
unmanned . . .
all the workers
calling in sick

ocean breeze . . .
a cloudy sky woven
with seagulls

she asks for a
blackberry when I'm most
vulnerable . . .
thinking i don't know
what she's up to

robert d. wilson


  1. Robert,

    I want you to come back to me, to be one of my so-called 'followers'. I expect your allegiance;
    I need it...Your friend...

  2. Robin d. gill to me
    show details 3:03 AM (17 hours ago)

    Robert, i cannot find a way to get your wonderland to allow nme to post
    i check the google account thing that failed i wrote in my url with www and without that failed my posting wasn;t much anyway
    so here it is

    A new year, Gregorian, and visiting, i am here.
    Robert, I have never lived where you are living, but i did hang-out with penniless people in Korea 1980 -- where wristwatches were hocked to get back from Chejudo to Pusan and i recall feeling disgusted at GI's on base throwing out crumbs of sandwiches while complaining when i really had nothing and they seemed rich and while i do not feel art is subjective -- call me prejudiced -- i do know you have always shared all good things that people write about one another with others and that alone, while one might think it normal, is rare and wonderful and knowing nothing re moira this and that can only hope that this, whatever it is rises above it all. And, I hope you will enjoy what i have put up 100% readable at google recently -- A Dolphin In the Woods and The CAt Who Thought Too Much
    I know nothig re you and your x but i trust you will always keeps what counts: 初心(first heart/mind), which all I read tells me you do. robin
    Keep well

    I guess i should add travelling third class up in the bow of the boat and wrestling people to get respect (odd huh, but true and drinking jinro not to puke -- for me then it worked) At present i have been 3 and 1/2 years isolated in the woods so to speak -- my sister is still doing radiation etc and i must concentrate on my escape so to speak -- finding a position at a univ hopefully by next fall, so i can work with others . . .

    best, sorry i cannot engage in literary endeavors now
    if you know anyone in universities, tell them to try the short version of MAd In Translation-- i bet Kyoka will light up student;s minds


  3. Robert,

    I love 'she asks for a blackberry when I'm most vulnerable'. Fathers and daughters; I submit to every pout and sweet, cunning look. Thank you.....pajamas


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