Last year has vanished
From present to past
Much like my memory
Not destined to last.
And now starts a new year
With promises made
To seek new adventures
With enjoyment displayed.
A new year to blossom
To spread wings and fly
And reveal in the company
Of my wife and I.
November is a joyous month Of family celebrations A special month for football games And a gathering of relations.
As we sit around and watch tv And gobble too much food Our home is filled with love and laughter In a festive family mood.
And somewhere in a barnyard A loud argument is heard With the animals shouting fiercely Each trying to have the final word.
The cows yelled, “Eat more chicken” While the pigs cried, “Eat more beef” A duck screamed, “Kill the turkey” And a horse sighed, “Oh, good grief”.
Across this great, wide nation As families eat home cooked meals They talk, but the food is silent Not a gobble, moo, or squeal.
Eugene Ward Biography
Eugene always loved writing poetry. As a youth, he sent poetic birthday and anniversary cards to family members. It was easy for Eugene to remember song lyrics through poetry and he developed a knack for relating life experiences and events in poetic rhythms and rhymes. While attending a junior college, in California (1975), his professors worked effortlessly to advance his creative writing skills. In his spare time he studied nature and seasonal changes, people and places set in poetic form as a foundation for submissions in several poetry contests. In 2006, Eugene’s poetry became a book passing on to family and friends.
Eugene is currently working on a second book of poetry while living in Nixa, MO. Eugene is a member of VVA Chapter 952. The picture is a young Eugene at Basic Training Graduation.
by Dr. Carolyn Schriber
Viet Man by D.S. Liters
Small irritations make wonderful essay topics. Almost anyone can describe the annoyance of a faucet dripping somewhere in the wee hours of the morning—or the incessant buzzing of a solitary mosquito seeking dinner at midnight—or the soreness of a nagging hangnail when no manicure scissors are available. Words and images flow. When it comes to agonizing pain that keeps going on day after day, paralyzing fear, or unimaginable loss, however, the story is quite different. Words fail, memories shatter, eloquence dies on the tongue. Somehow there develops a distinct inverse relationship between the depth of our feelings and our ability to remember them and talk about them.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the great number of recent novels and memoirs about the Vietnam War. Veterans have finally received approval and encouragement to talk about their experiences, only to find that they cannot easily communicate their feelings to those who were not there with them. When an author succeeds in carrying his readers directly into the jungles, the rice paddies, the strangely impersonal hootches and dusty base camps, the world of drugs and blank-eyed mama-sans, the impact of his words makes us gasp for breath and struggle for understanding.
D. S. Lliteras has managed to do exactly that in his tersely-worded literary novel, Viet Man. His narrator has no name other than “Doc.” He is a navy corpsman; who he was back home doesn’t matter. He is young–just out of high school but equipped with perceptive powers of memory and observation. He arrives in Vietnam with no idea of what the war holds in store for him, but he is determined to take charge of this experience and meet it head on. As readers, we follow him through his first patrols, his first kill, his first visit to the local red light district, the growing recognition of his own mortality.
When he describes a scene, his details are specific and honest. We don’t just learn what’s going on; we see it and smell it, feel it and hear it. In peaceful moments he speaks to us in sentences and paragraphs. When danger threatens or fear overwhelms, his mental state retreats into disjointed phrases or single words.
We learn about his broken romance back home only when something triggers his own memories. And in the end, we accompany him when he returns stateside, only to find that those at home cannot begin to understand that he now lives in a different world than the one they know.
Review by Carolyn Schriber, MWSA Reviewer