Archive for November, 2021


Alas, I didn’t keep in touch

A streaking comet of care was our love affair.

Ten years later finding letters of devotion from thee;

Sorry Bro

Too late again;

Now you will read the cache you found

Of her love letters last decade

So profound and caring,

In that print she printed.

Now you will cry like when your mama died,

Once more.

Having missed a chance for the companionship

Of forever love.

Weep, “Music Man”, weep

One of her nicknames for me.

Cry in your sleep!

Dreams are so deep;

Just last night you dreamt you would call her

Say, “Hey, how have you been?”

Just last week you heard her voice,

On answering machine cassette out of storage

Her love for you was historic warm winter porridge.

Now you will save that tape till you die;

No lie.

Feel your forehead at the chances blown

For forever romantic bodily warmth

Which leave you today lonely

Uttering the shameful, “If only” – again.

Just a shadow in your rear view mirror

With soft Brie cheese colored skin,

Missed highway exits become clearer

Only one of many gourmets we shared

And untasted by each of us.

“Hey, Jimi! It’s Me…I’m just trying to keep in-touch…”

Would say the voice-mail.

You are so sorry a man

That you didn’t talk to her much more

She told that she had Parkinson’s disease

You just found the paper she sent you.

Another ailment for her dosette box.

Oh, Mattie!!

Who protected me from your confederate mother

With the shotgun at her door

You said she didn’t approve

As if I was one of those other mutherfuckers.

Dropping you off with dignity after the ballgame,

When you had to move back in with family

Our love she refused to see

So we nicknamed her “Georgia Meany”.

Your dad flew contrails of migrating geese

After vehicles stopping to let them slowly pass,

In funeral processional.

Hearing your tender southern voice

On a past answering machine cassette,

So caring, vulnerable yet determined

You put up the brave front,

While breathing sometimes labored

That everything was alright,

Never wanting to be any trouble or burden to me.

Which didn’t cross my mind,

Just without the skills to cure Mattie,

Only morally support.

My playful Smokey Mountains-bred Rasta

Lemon-drop lover,

Her line has gone death;

Called her number just in case.

Never too much the worse for wear

With copious old believe it or not stories,

Like the last time you won a horse!

She has no more discomfort at last;

I guess you finally caught your breath.

Life is a bit lonelier now,

Even amid the glory.

Now, my take on the last book from my summertime night table reading stack (see my post of July 11, 2021).  Daniel James Brown’s Facing The Mountain, A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” (Viking $30.00 9780525557401) recounts the reaction of our country at-large against Japanese Americans, in the wake of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 – 80 years ago, next month, as I write this review. As I read the chapters, I couldn’t help but notice, and am awestruck by how much our Black- American and Japanese-American soldier’s World War II experiences have in-common.  You see, I am the son of a career U.S. Army man who fought within the 369th Field Artillery unit out of Harlem, U.S.A.  I remember him alluding to much similar discrimination by segregation within the U.S. Armed forces, even though the enemy’s bullets did not differentiate race when they found their mark. It would be like if Africa was one country and it attacked us, all suspected African Americans would be round-up and sent off to concentration camps.  The misplaced resentment against Japanese Americans also ran so deep, that even after the young Japanese American G.I. proved their patriotism in battle, they were not easily welcomed back home, to the point that one barber shop owner justified it by saying, “They all look alike to me.”  Hell, that’s what I heard said about black Americans back in the 1960s!
Brown’s spotless set-up straps you into your seat-belt for a six-part saga of a people mistrusted, who then excelled against all odds. Reading a chapter or so per night, I only closed the book to sleep and with anticipation of what the next Part would describe and I’m challenged here, to validly convey the accuracy and compassion of his reporting the events which led to the battlefield confrontations with Hitler’s forces in WWII.  What the doughty Nisei soldiers overcame should be read by every American, no matter your ethnic background – especially in these trying times.  One can truly see that, as the saying goes, “It could be a lot worse!” after reading this volume of valiance.
Chapter 19 is a standout exhale and great change of pace.  Brown even fills-in the blanks about what happened to the deep-voiced, late, great U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, who I noticed once on TV, had only one arm.  He is but one of many real characters we meet by name and family history in this true story. A personal glow came over me when I read page 382, about how one of the 442nd battalion’s assignments took them to Menton,  near the French Riviera, where they saw white zinnias among other beautiful flowers.  I sold zinnia flower seeds door-to-door in my neighborhood as a boy, to earn prizes depicted on the backs of the comic books I read and had forgotten all about that! “Mountain” contains many reminders of why history is as important to study now, more than ever, as he recounts how the inhumanity nationalistic madmen, bent upon world dominance, can inflict needless suffering upon other men, women and children – and which we, collectively, must never let happen again on our planet. Often chilling and painful to reflect upon, but always riveting, educational reading.  5 out-of-five WWII field artillery canons.
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