This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The work below is practice and practice makes perfect.
Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.
A while back, I met a man who’d been a doctor in Vietnam. “The rule was,” he said, “Save ‘em if you can. Do everything you can, but remember that you can’t, you won’t, and you’ll never save ‘em all. And, when you can’t save ‘em; you follow protocol.
“The first thing you gotta do is ID ‘em, look at their dog tags. Then go through their pockets and put what you find into an envelope. Put the envelope into a plastic bag. Fill out all the papers and send ‘em home; wherever home had been.
“Saigon, Sydney, Abilene, New York, Hanoi, Marseilles
“It doesn’t take long to become accustomed to the smell. To become inured to the idea of death. It all becomes more real, even as it becomes less real, becomes more abstract. In that world, it is always feast or famine, busy or idle; and to pass the down time, when there are no new dead or injured, you read the small blood splattered notebooks that the dead clutched in their cold hands or, more likely, they carried in their pockets when they were brought in – letters from home; snapshots of wives, girlfriends, parents, and kids; journals filled with recollections of war; sketches of where they’ve been and the people they’ve met – buddies, whores, strangers off the street.
“Many carry poems – some are handwritten, some are torn from books, some are lightly scented with perfumes from half a world away.”
“Poems? Why Poems?” I asked.
“Maybe,” he said, “just maybe; poetry, well written, can resonate with the soldiers and the grunts; can strike a chord with those who walk in the shadow of death.”
My new friend asked them all about this. Each and every one, but their lips were sealed. It seems that the dead take their secrets with them.
This week’s prompts are:
- Drinking alone, and pregnant
- This just isn’t doing it for me
- that’s rich
Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.
9 thoughts on “OLWG #43- The Pockets of the Dead”
The details in this make it all the more poignant. I can only imagine poetry was quick to read and to write between skirmishes, as well as being condensed pockets of feeling with not a word wasted.
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“…condensed pockets of feeling…” nicely said.
Reminds me of M*A*S*H and “Good Morning, Vietnam!” …
Part 4 Account History?
This piece got me thinking about chance encounters a soldier might have written about in his pocket notebook. I sure would like to be privy to some of their actual notes….