I was watching a segment of Francis Ford Cappola's Vietnam War movie, Apocalypse Now, two nights ago and it reminded me once more of the similarities between an LSD trip and being a serviceman in the
Vietnam War during the late 1960's. Both are dreams dreamt awake; a life seasoned with flashbacks, hallucinations, sleeplessness, light shows, too long, too short, brownouts, blackouts, purple water, buffalos stampeding through mirrors and neon-lights, the morning's red glare more than a line lifted from the American National Anthem . . .
One minute I'm eating breakfast in the tin roofed chow hall on the Navy side of Dong tam, yakking away between gulps, during gulps, downing helpings of omelets with real eggs, real meat, when I hear the all too familiar whistle of an incoming rocket, the chow hall roof pelted with shrapnel, then another whistle, and another . . . "It's wonderful to be here, it's certainly a thrill. You're such a lovely audience, we'd like to take you home with us . . . " I belt out from under the table we took cover under, making an adrenaline dash with three shipmates to our duty stations, rockets falling in front of us, behind us . . . "I don't really want to stop the show, but I thought you might like to know, that the singer's going to sing a song and he wants you all to sing along . . ."
An officer in the bunker outside the chow hall orders us to seek shelter in the bunker, calls us crazy sonabitches. We ignore him, instinct tells us to report to our duty stations on the top secret . . . our lucky talisman, but not today, a rocket hits the pontoons, another tears a whole into the . . . 's entrance . . . rockets behind us, nowhere to go but into the dragon's mouth . . . running past the bloodied bodies of two shipmates, the stench of metal, the stench of flesh . . ."They've been going in and out of style,but they're guaranteed to raise a smile . . . "
This is just a glimpse into the hell only a Vietnam Veteran experiences . . . and remembers; an experience that changes a 19 year old forever. I counted the days until I went home, but . . . what I came home to . . . had changed. I went from one battlefield to another.
Welcome to The Wonderland Amusement Park, the subconscious and conscious diary of Robert D. Wilson, using haiku, senryu, haiga, and tanka as his means of expression. Enter at your own risk. And if you dare, become a member. Who knows, one day I'll send you a news letter.
*The lyrics in parenthesis are excerpted from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club by the Beatles.