November 11, 2014


until there are no soldiers
we have all died in vain

My father was born in 1920. His dad left one year later.

He was raised by his mother and his aunt. He was ten when the great depression hit his world.  Dad eventually left school to find work.  He joined the CCC,  and later enlisted in the U.S. Army – a truck driver in the 262 Infantry.

His battle and campaign credentials include:  Normandy, Ardennes (the Bulge), Northern France, and the Rhineland. He brought home some intense memorabilia. We seven kids destroyed it, as the war could not.

Dad did not talk about the war, except for the cases of wine diverted from the headquarters’s staff, or the time he chauffeured Omar Bradley.  He said the captured Germans seemed just like them.  Only they were on the losing side.

He died at sixty.

Each Memorial Day my parents had a picnic .  It was an open house and lasted late into the night.

The following poem is  about my father and makes reference to such an occasion:

Dad Wore Hats

Not when he should have.

On a cold bright day
he would call out
where is your hat?
while the wind played
in his hair.

Nor the way he should have.

It was always
crunched atop his head
by a nephew or daughter
running around our backyard
at a picnic.

Nor what he should have.

Into the dewy night
the adults would sing,
heads touching in harmony –
dad smoking a Chesterfield
wearing a bonnet.


Discovering Tyrants

July 5, 2008


In the days of antennae
atop wooden consoles –
we pulled in whatever
was out there.

Much of it,
old war footage:
tanks in mud
men on stretchers
cannon flashing
Zeros falling

and Der Fuhrer
pounding his fist
in truculent German
to adoring masses.

I would wonder:
what is he saying?
why is he so pissed?
why would people like him?

(Just as a non anglophone might think
when first seeing and hearing a Limbaugh)

Our country was born of
contempt for privilege.

Yet today we are besmirched

for having those same
patriotic opinions.