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Page 40
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<< 39. Arthur "Ben" Chitty, 1947-202441. Bitter Smoke of Auschwitz Drifts Over Gaza Tonight (poem) >>

Back Home Connections (poem)

By John Crandell

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There was Little Jimmy, fourth in line
Waiting to get up to my window, in the APO at Enari, south of Pleiku
He my onetime patrol leader - Back in the US of A
Who'd once tossed rocks at me, but now a squad leader out in the bush
Tension remained, as he stood in front of me, eight years later
Big Mike, his brother then flying off an aircraft carrier - the one reason
I'd taken a hike, said fuck that Catholic Troop number 5
Purchase refused due to strict regs
He didn't have his MACV card. Our issues yet irresolved.
I'd gone elsewhere, said hello to Lutheran Scout Troop 11
Returning to the world, Little Jimmy began to carry the mail

But on March 1st 1970, the 4th Division would pick up and move east
up and over storied Mang Yang

Outside the APO at Radcliff, east of An Khe
A DeucenHalf began to shake and rattle as I passed by
Out popped another member of said Troop number 5
Blonde and six foot Grab Ass, yelling at me a mile a minute
A future brother in law no less, driving his rig out of Qui Nhon

Fast forward to 1983, Northridge California
For a lunchtime break at an industrial park
I jump over the back corner fence and head towards Crown Books
Passing by the Target loading dock thereby, Grab Ass yells once more
Divorce had intervened, not seen him since '75
Talking through chain link he tells me -
That if he had it all to do over again
That he would have made it a career in the Army
That's when I replied, that if I ever wake up one morning
and were to think the same thing, that I hoped
That I would blow my brains out!
End of encounter. Never saw Grab Ass again
I'd come the closest to ever getting killed by head-on
In the month previous, other side of that book store.
The Earth broke open, ten miles directly below, ten years hence

—John Crandell

<< 39. Arthur "Ben" Chitty, 1947-202441. Bitter Smoke of Auschwitz Drifts Over Gaza Tonight (poem) >>