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Home From the War? Not quite yet. God Bless the Fourth of July…
I went off to the war in Vietnam. Training, waiting, arriving, coming back home. It changed everything. I came home and nothing happened. No one wanted to know where I had been, what I had been doing. Normalcy awaited. I did not participate. Not really. Not ever. Not then. Not now. There was no one to talk to. There was nothing to say. Inside I was filled up. All that stuff is still inside of me. With no place to go, even now, a half century later.
1969. Here we are in 2019. I look on national TV at the bodies of children floating face down in the Rio Grande; babies face down in the dirt of the Syrian desert; young people’s bodies filled with bullets from the police and from other random white men…in church, in nightclubs, at weddings, just walking down the street or trying to study in school. Maybe the entire nation has PTSD. Everyone but the GOP. They are stragely satisfied at the moment. With this POTUS. With this SCOTUS. With these new judges and agents and regulation czars. Satisfied. The way a cockroach is satisfied in a house filled with garbage and trash.
Somewhere in the luminous jungle of Vietnam I walked into a clearing. An armored personell carrier was parked nearby. Sitting on top of the APC was a dead Vietnamese person. Maybe a “vietcong”, maybe just a random villager. He had a hole in his head. No brains inside. It looked like they had been scooped out and the skull cleaned and polished. I stood there and looked onto this scene for a few minutes, with about a dozen others, and then moved along. I never knew what we were doing, the people we were doing it to or even exactly where on the earth I actually was.
The people who sell the thousands of items needed to make war are the same people who sell the thousands of items needed to rebuild from war. Eisenhower is spinning in his grave, possibly at light speed. If Jesus were in a position to come back, this would be a good time. That he has not probably means we have not seen the worst of it yet. Or maybe he was co-opted and bought out. Your local church, or the family dentist hold profit-taking stocks in such companies/corporations. Only the poor have clean hands here. A good and high quality of life, in America at least, needs blood. Blood on the sands and blood on the money. Blood in the institutions of government and justice.
Am I dead already? What happened out there in the green, shining Jungle? So much time has passed so quickly. Memories, who care nothing at all about time, tell me it just happened. Fresh. All but the smells. I lost those, somehow, in Kentucky, at Fort Knox. Maybe buying tha Camero GT, 1968, 389 horse power, red automobile helped me more than I knew at the time. I stayed in that car when I was not working, driving, just driving. Driving and driving. The sound of that great motor and the emptiness of the roads in the middle of the night a medicine I gulped down.
Today I saw a photo of two really disgusting ButterBall Turkeys standing in Hell…Donald Trump and Kin Jong XX (who cares) at the DMZ. Holding hands. A normal day for our pathetic sociopath president. Another spike in the fog for me. I see no moral center in the eight directions. No policy or ideas or leaders to life me up and out. No clues. Just the relentless movement of a man who is me in motion going neither up or down, sometimes nowhere at all even as I know the Great Wind has carried me forward. Carried wherever the wind needs to go.
The Old Indians gave me a drum and showed me how to dance, a dance that would bring me back from war, back the earth, back into the flow of life. I beat that drum and danced, beat and danced all over the USA, all four corners of it. I grew myself into a Turtle’s shell and carried all my secrets inside of it as I danced, collecting many other secrets as I went along.
Years ago, the best thing I ever did, was to leave America, leve the Old Indians, leave the dirt of my birth. I came to Sicily and now am in fact a Sicilian Citizen. The gret honour of my life has been to marry into this ancient culture of “leopards and jackals”, becoming one with the Sun and the Eight Winds of the little sea.
Even so far away, as a greater peace and a more precious tolerance sets in from my new country, I watch the America of my birth turn to rot and death and become almost to ugly to contemplate. I see the photo of a dead father embraced by his dead daughter floating in the Rio Grande and it shatter my heart and my self control and I weep and sob almost to the point of becoming ill. Our sacred human hearts are just trash on the floor in this new America for rich coal barons and stock market traders. And the GOP just keeps laughing right in our face. Like Vietname, as I looked around, it was and always will be the wrong people laying dead at our feet. We need to see a handcuffed Donald Trump being put into the prison cell of a fedral prison, not standing on the steps of the goddamn Lincoln Memorial vomiting out more gibberish and derangement on those sacred steps. I find myself hoping for a sudden rising up of protesters overwhelming and stomping that event into the dust and possibly Trump along the way.
For a while I thought my war was over when I came home. Then I knew it was not. Now I know we have all been played for suckers. All along.
Even the deepest sleeper can wake up. Even the longest coma might suddenly end. That is what prayer is for and about I guess.
William Fredric Posey
HHC, 1/18th, 1st Infantry Division, attached to 8th Air Cavalry, 1968-1969
In Sicilia, Italy 2019
copyright 2019 © WF Posey