Five Notes From War

And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls
—William Blake

1.

The lieutenant bled out—
eleven units of plasma
& my friend holding
pressure not enough
to save him.
Near the end
my friend believed
he was transporting
to afterlife when
his fingers trapped
inside the lieutenant’s
congealed blood.
We soaked them free
with water
from canteens.

Now, when we visit
The Wall, my friend
tries to wedge
his fingers back in.

2.

Names of the lieutenant & five
more killed that day chiseled
into granite. With fingers spread
& thumbs touching at the tips,
my friend can cover all six
names in chronological order.
Now that we’re older, I kneel
behind to steady his forearms.

3.

Last winter, at The Wall
again. Snowing & very cold.
It seemed we were alone
until a man & woman reflected
in the granite from behind us.
For a long time I watched
them inside the stone.
When I turned
I saw them crying.
Do you have someone here? I asked.
Just the two of you, she said.

4.

A helicopter crash near Bên Cát.
Ed Lenhoff, the Huey gunship pilot,
the only survivor. Last week
he was arrested for chiseling
The Wall next to the names
of his crew members.

The Washington Post wrote,
“Mr. Lenhoff was taken into
custody as he was defacing
the Vietnam Memorial Wall
with a mason’s chisel.
Fortunately,
park rangers arrested
him after he carved
just one letter.”

Eventually,
after correspondence
from the crew’s families,
the Park Service determined
to leave the chiseled ‘L’
on the right margin
of panel 11E, line 63.

5.

The handsome medic
from Southern California
was straddling our trench latrine
& singing a Beach Boys’ song
when shot by a Viet Cong sniper.

A high velocity bullet behind
his right ear. Cranium & contents,
facial bones—vaporized. Half a scalp
of blond hair, eyebrows, eyelashes,
nose & lips—intact.

Ask yourself,
What could a battlefield surgeon do?
I was thinking funeral.
How to reconstruct his face.
One last look at sunshine beauty.

I was thinking Michelangelo
as I worked inside the cavity
to replicate nasal bones,
cheekbones, forehead, a smile,
until suddenly ashamed
& with a nation’s shit on my hands
I heard myself singing,
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older…


H. C. PALMER
New Letters
Volume 80, 3 & 4

4 notes

korrakun:

my favorite college experience is when i had a 7am class and the kid next to me literally poured a monster energy drink into his coffee said “i’m going to die” and drank the whole thing

231,871 notes


The 5th Wave & The Infinite Sea

The 5th Wave & The Infinite Sea

(Source: cecebooks)

956 notes

paradoxical-pterodactyl:

GAHHH HE’S SLEEPING ON THE CHARGER TO GET WARM!!!!!
MY HEARTMY HEART

paradoxical-pterodactyl:

GAHHH HE’S SLEEPING ON THE CHARGER TO GET WARM!!!!!

MY HEART
MY HEART

(Source: cute-overload)

475,664 notes

mauridianhallow:

beatlesboobsandbulges:

My dad just said: at your age you’ll probably wanna try a lot of things. Boys, girls, being a girl, being a boy, being punk or goth or spunky. And im okay with that. As long as you don’t come home and tell me youre a republican

parents who care

351,267 notes