Friday Fictioneers for June 17th 2022

Mistress Rochelle gave us a double dose of reality today as she announced her recovery from the dreaded COVID CRUD with one of her photos. Nothing can keep her down for long. But the lovely flowers and get-well balloon should inspire us to find the words to tell our own story.

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Click on Rochelle’s bouquet for a lift to her page to scope out the rules and regs of the game.


Genre: Military Fiction
Title: Friendly Enemies
Word Count: 100

***

Timo and I were life-long enemies. We always argued and fought. Didn’t know why.

Fatefully, after graduation we ended up in the same platoon. One night on recon walking about ten feet behind the point man, Timo shoved me and whispered, “You’re too close. Spread out!”

Just as I put distance between us, the point man tripped a mine. I remember the flash and loud blast.

I awoke in the hospital to a bouquet of flowers: yellow carnations, white snapdragons, buttercups, purple and violet petunias, and orange lilies.

The card read, “Keep friends close, enemies closer. Get well soon. Timo.”

***


Look both ways for friends and enemies, discernment is key.
Mind the gaps, it may not be what you think.

Click on me or Timo for a bus over to the city or squares and more fun micro-stories.

What would you send your enemy? To know why I used those flowers, click here.

Memorial Day

I’ve decided to kick the Monday Rune a week down the road because today is Memorial Day in the USA.

My mother still called it Decoration Day even long after 1971, when Memorial Day was declared a national holiday. If you want some good information and background on the day, click HERE.

On this and every Memorial Day, I hope Americans remember what it’s factually all about. It is a day of memorial, a day to honor and remember people who died in service to the country.

Saying happy Memorial Day is inappropriate, but curbing that gets more difficult every year as more people lose sight of the purpose, which I consider unfortunate, if not sad. While it may never be incorrect to thank a veteran for their service, this day is about the dead, not the living. Veterans Day in on November 11th each year and it is totally correct to say happy Veterans Day, which is also a national holiday.

There are entire vet organizations set up for exactly this purpose: to get it right on Memorial Day. While there is a lot of hoopla, sales, and military prominence on this day, the purpose is still to memorialize the dead. I hope we don’t forget that.

 

I realize it’s Veterans Day (no apostrophe), but it is not my meme and it gets them message across.

Monday’s Rune: Hurry & Wait


Call Alice or Jody Call

Hurry up! and then wait
might be a cliché to some.
Army’s GI Joes claim it
as their own,
but we’ve all been rushed
and rushed, hurried along,
forced into quick-step like
anthropomorphic white rabbits
through Alice’s wonderland story
(not Arlo’s restaurant one)
and Grace’s slick psyche-song.

Rushed to somewhere
only there to wait,
and wait some more,
and then wait longer.
(‘twas no rarity, either.)
On top of that,
just like the mad hat,
they’d (we) add five minutes,
early
plus five,
and then five more,
(if not ten) minutes early.
A military obsession
greater than want of
any weapon
or crazy-ass war.

Embrace the suck
if it makes it
better how ya feel,
about it all,
been there,
done that,
was not late,
but had to wait.
We’ll all be early
for our own
funerals, unless
it’s Oxford
(not Tulsa) time,
when late is just fine.


Look both ways if you’ve had “some kind of mushroom.”
Mind the gaps and “remember what the dormouse said, feed your head.”

 

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 28)

Click for more.

Today’s prompt was to write a concrete poem. I wanted to do all 30 prompts.

What I did instead was intended to be a black out poem in lieu of the prompt, I’ve done concretes before. Not today.

I decided that rather than black out unused text to create the poem, I would extract the lines from the first few paragraphs of a longer story. If I had more time, I might have attempted some art to overlay the blacked-out area.

If I included the entire narrative, it would have been too long with entire paragraphs blacked out. So, I extracted the parts/words/sections that made up the poem.

I selected the first few paragraphs from the titled section, “On the Rainy River” from the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien © (published in 1990 by Houghton Mifflin).


Drafted

one story I’ve never told,
it would only cause embarrassment,
a confession…
makes me squirm,
I’ve had to live with it, feeling the shame,
it’s a hard story to tell.

if evil were evil enough, if good were good enough
I would simply tap a secret reservoir of courage…
Courage, comes in finite quantities,
it offered hope and grace to the repetitive coward.

I was drafted to fight a war I hated.
(You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can’t make them undead.)
…I assumed that the problems of killing and dying did not fall within my special province…

The draft notice arrived on June 17, 1968.
I was too good for this war.
Too smart, too compassionate, too everything.
I was above it. A mistake, maybe…I was no soldier.


Look both ways for reasons why and why not.
Mind the gaps. That’s where the booby traps hide.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 21)

Click graphic for full prompt page and links to more poems.

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net four-part prompt was borrowed from poet Betsy Sholl. This assignment tasked me to write a poem within which I recall,

  1. someone I was close to, but I am no longer,
  2. a job I no longer do, and
  3. art that I saw once and that stuck with me.
  4. I was to close the poem with an unanswerable question.

Reflection

Side by side in many ways
our lives were intwined by profession,
friendship, and meaning. Only now,
looking back do I see that when
you went right, I vectored left,
fast friends now virtual strangers.

Maybe I no longer do those things,
I don’t walk or talk the same,
my goals and purposes are past,
yet my butt is a branded identity.
From that long ago past, my dreams
are still me then, me when I was
part of a thing bigger than myself.

I saw the cowboy of a distant genre
who rode one horse of divergent
color, who ranged and wrangled west.
I’m unlike him; no horse or saddle
sits beneath me. I’m just a deliberate, defiant,
dying breed with a protective attitude.
He sits, and stares. I wonder where.

Why the tie? Is the past part of me?
Am I still part of the past?
How do those people and things
have me in what they are today?
Does any of it matter?


Look both ways, but juxtapose the past with the present,
especially if both are greater than the future.
Mind the gaps because memory is notoriously unreliable.

Monday’s Rune: War Poetry

But First

To balance my blogosphere life, I shall henceforth post my unprompted poems (or prose), called runes, on Mondays (formerly Thursday) so I can plan to post about every other day.

I claim King’s X for April because I hope to be working my way through 30 poems in 30 days with National (Global) Poetry Writing Month (napowrimo.net). I try to write to the daily prompts/assignments (it’s optional, I’m not that masochistic).

Thus, I shall post every day in April. When possible, I will combine or do a second post on Friday Fictioneers and Sammi’s Weekender. I will also try to read and comment on those challenges when I can.


Why Can’t We Be Friends?

What is the difference between
genocide, slavery, life,
and freedom?

It’s war. Granted. War is bad.
It’s literally hell on Earth.
Innocents and soldiers are killed.
War’s destruction is
without logic or proportion.

But pacifism is worse.
Evil cannot be appeased.
War is the symptom.
Humanity is the cause.
Hate is the disease.

Choose well but take a side.
Peace is a dream guarded
by nightmares. History proves
we always get the war we want.
There may be no winners in war,
but there are losers. I’d rather not.


Look both ways in the real world.
We must always fight for what is right.
Mind the gaps for seeds of hate and find the first casualty of war: truth.

 

Sammi’s Weekender #240 (pavonine)

Click on graphic for Sammi’s blog.

 


An Old Dog Bit Me

My Dog was a big, ugly, fat fucker (BUFF),
boasting an un-pavonine but prominent
forty-eight-foot-tall tail
painted a horrid unreflective tar-black; likewise,
his underside, from empennage guns to radome nose.

Chemical odors inside mixed with piss and puke
fouled the air; noise enough to deafen,
disaster and destruction filled his big ebony belly.

On command, my camouflaged killer would ‘Cry Havoc;’
wreaking horrible death and terror onto the earth below.

Now, we haunt display grounds at air museums across the country.


Look both ways.
What you don’t see can kill.
Mind the gaps and don’t be a target.

Note: Allusion is to “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war,” spoken by Mark Antony in Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 of Shakespeare’s history play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

 

A B-52D (circa 1975), also known as a tall tail or the “Old Dog.” It was the B-52 model (there were eight) used in the novel “Flight of the Old Dog” by Dale Brown.

Friday Fictioneers 12 – 01 – 2021

Friday Fictioneers challenges us to write micro-fiction (<101 words) prompted by a photograph supplied by one of our colleagues. It’s all teed up by our friend, extraordinary artist, and fabulous leader, Rochelle. Click the prompt photo to see her blog page with all the skinny. It’s fun.

Today’s picture has a two-level outhouse indicating politicians up top and voters below. I recall seeing this arrangement in a military cartoon with officers on top and enlisted below.

In the Viet Nam War, officers and radiomen were preferred targets of the North Vietnam Army and the Viet Cong, which is why soldiers did not salute officers in the field.

Click on the PHOTO PROMPT by © Lisa Fox for Rochelle’s blog to get all the FF info.

Genre: Military Fiction (War Story)
Word Count: 100
Title: FNG* Down

The new Lieutenant ordered me to be his radio man. Our platoon leader was callow, yet confident and eager. A stickler for rules, he risked soldiers’ lives needlessly. A poor listener with a gung-ho, know-it-all attitude.

He chewed me out in front of my squad and gave me extra guard duty. Bad enough I had to hump the motherfucker’s goddamn radio.

In the jungle one day the lieutenant ordered me to step back, I yelled, “Yes, Sir,” stepped back and saluted him. The crack sound of the AK-47 made me dive for cover.

Our next lieutenant was a big improvement.


Be aware of enemy presence and men with guns.
Mind the gaps, make more friends than enemies, and keep your powder dry.
Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being watched.

Click on the soldier to link to the squares, where other stories are being told.

*FNG is military initialism and jargon for fucking new guy.

Thursday Rune (Kip)

Temporary Friendships

I never understood him.
He told me things,
as others have,
where truth
may have been shaved,
distorted, or it was not
exactly as it was.

He was my roommate,
at times a friend,
but solid ground
did not bridge us
for very long after
I went one way,
he another.

Many silent years later,
Yolonda found Kip.
Living in Florida,
where he has since died.

It’s hard to say
what matters,
so many years later.
I wonder what
I saw then, that
I cannot recall now.


Look both ways but mind the gaps.
Hold on to dreams and memories. But sometimes,
I wish I knew then what I now know. At other times,
I wish we didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.

Thursday Rune: Vet’s Day Poem


Why I am Here

Are we united? One,
indivisible nation
facing all that division
and diversion
has to offer.

When politically
trapped rhetoric becomes
the dark knight, when
lies form gospel,
when logic is lost, when
hate becomes faith,
we form our own
deep “Troubles”
dis-united.

On this Vet’s Day,
let us remember,
and never forget,
why we are here.


Look both ways and work for peace.
Mind the gaps as we make it a better world.