Poetry isn’t most people’s “thing”.  Is it? I don’t expect any kind of following.  Or any long line of Those Who Appreciate Monstrous Creativity!  But I’ve thought for a long time about submitting – just a little of my work – to some publishers.  Or magazines. But I guess my poems are my babies.  And I love them.  Well, not ALL of them, but enough that I just want to take care of them myself.  And read them myself.

Well, that’s what I’ve told myself so far.

But now I’m thinking not that many folks will be perusing my blog anyway. So I’m safe to cradle those babies here where they’ll be safe and warm!

A couple today.  VIETNAM was written after one of my first forays to Saigon. It’s not really poetry.  More of a “ballad”.  So don’t judge me on this one.  It’s not meant to be high literature!  But it IS meant to give you some word pictures. If you read a bit then close your eyes, read a bit more, close your eyes…and repeat the process, it will give you some idea of the real story.  You won’t be far off.  Maybe pretty close!


The embroidery of rice paddies, corrugated roofs, people specks,

brackish snaking rivers all aglow in afternoon sun

appear like a picture framed for posterity

from my window seat on Vietnam Airlines.


The cool orderliness of the nondescript airport fools the first time caller. 

Gentle bespoke officials are near-silent drones

On the street the humidity assaults like summer downpour

and the result is virtually the same.


What a complex jumble; this chaotic disorganization of ramshackle…

this Vietnam!  Order seems blatantly nowhere. 

To the new eye everything races against time,

and perpetual motion runs like school children in argument.


Amid this symphony of clang I emerge.

The traffic is an unending onslaught of pedestrians, vehicles,

bicycles, motorcycles, contraptions of all sorts,

running like a river!


The trick is to advance slowly into oncoming traffic

and magically…

it can only be magic…

the two sides converge, diverge…and life goes on.


The sound is from engines, the bellow of horns,

the noise of loudspeakers here and there. 

A most inexplicable kind of peaceful quiet.  How?

It’s the ubiquitous ease of the people…passive everywhere.


But the people laze in a soft haze, never a flurry…

only motion moderating through the streets…

in this squabble of populace, bellow of motorcycles, shrieking of horns

and rabble of hawkers, beggars, gentlemen and ladies.


On the back of Mr. Moto I ride,

my friend at the controls and I see a wide world pass. 

It’s sensory overload…colors, sounds, pictures everywhere…

more stills than video. 


I see a thousand pictures, and there are no words enough, to describe.

A woman in bright chartreuse, immaculate…chops for dinner…for sale. 

A hundred school boys, bright-eyed in blue and white, dance their calisthenics in the school yard,

robots playing follow the leader.


We meet a passel of five fat saffron monks,

all pictures of Father Buddha…

round-faced and flopping together,

crammed into the moto-jig that rides them to their celestial places.


Fresh faced school girls, virgin-white, gaggle together,

white slit skirts over traditional white trousers covered demurely to the neck.

Some ride bicycles, tall, straight, commanding quietly their wheeled barks,

a tri-corner of their front scapular held to the handle bar.


The restaurants…dives and caves and holes-in-the-wall,

lovely, charming canopied spaces with quiet breezes,

bricks and mortar places with awnings, decks and open walls. 

Short skirted waitresses, lean boys with smiles, serve Vietnam!


Houses, narrow, narrow and tall, tall…out of scale…

next to jumble, tumbledown, dominate the streets,

and everywhere at ground zero are the shops. 

Could all this mesmerizing collection sell?  When?


This riot of color, from the laissez-faire coordination of one woman,

to the fastidious perfection of another, is beyond eye-comprehension.

So Vietnam flows…streams of motion; hum and thrum,

But a peaceful flood somehow soothings.


Finally…once again

the cool orderliness of the nondescript airport meets me.

Gentle bespoke officials are still near near-silent drones.

Once again


The embroidery of rice paddies, corrugated roofs, people specks,

brackish snaking rivers all aglow in afternoon sun

appear like a picture framed for posterity

from my window seat on Vietnam Airlines.

One more for today.

Speaking of flying:  On leaving the ground. Hanoi, bound for Saigon. Vietnam Airlines.  A couple of years ago.


 Big Bird trundles like a two year old,

tipsy, uncertain on the bubbled tarmac.

And like a toddler we weave side to side

in inelegant forward belches.


Or is it more like a 2am drunk

distilled in early morning blur?


Then, like a swan,

we take to the Autumn winds over Hanoi

and soar like the child grown to twenty-something

with an Olympic gold over the high jump!

Well there you are! You’ve been introduced to the poet!  Did you get the picture(s)?  Hopefully.

More to come.


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