I'm taking a little detour from my typical post tonight in order to publish this moving poem by a talented and eloquent writer. David Plumb's work is shaped by his own experience as a naval officer during the Vietnam War and by his profound empathy for those whose names are "whispered in the stars. Jessica, Daniel, Jeffrey, Patrick" -- names that "echo in blood, in guns, in storms."
Thank you, David, for reminding us who they are, and who we are as well.
News On A March Full Moon
Somewhere in a nearby yard a blue jay
yaks and yaks the morning quiet
way beyond the clicking news of smiles
and banks washing profits off casket walls.
Mid morning and the news reads
Sarandrea, Jessica Y., 22, Pfc, Army; Miami
First Cavalry Division. Killed in Iraq.
Marjorie Pollock is text messaging
by the organic oranges at Whole Foods.
Neal Bellenger holds a two pound
ground buffalo package in his left hand
a cell phone in his right.
The newlyweds contemplate organic cane
sugar as second ingredients in yogurt.
Daniel B. Hyde, 24 First Lieutenant, Army,
Modesto, California is dead in Iraq.
Beyond the three dollar collard greens
traffic zips and tears the afternoon.
No need to signal or cut off the competition.
It‚Äôs only three lanes and four hundred yards
to the gas station and a cheap hoagie.
A homeless man passes out a newspaper
at the traffic island. Put a little in the pot
please, and God Bless you Jeffrey Reed 23
Army Sergeant, Chesterfield, Virginia dead in Iraq.
Late afternoon stuffs the mind, wipes
pleasure off a job that may or may not
exist in a few days, or tomorrow.
Lorna Guzman, social worker for Women
in Distress hopes Day Care is taking care.
Keisha wants to tell the M.D.
with 40 patients a day that
she missed another period.
She has to get home.
She has a class tonight.
Patrick De Voe, he‚Äôs dead in Afghanistan
Twenty-seven, Private First Class
from Auburn, New York.
You know where that is, but then
It‚Äôs almost dinner time and Shirley
brings in take out hot and sour, lo mein
a side of barbecued wings.
Did you hear Tiger‚Äôs back?
TVs blink the news, the news, the news.
Who did what and who said if?
She‚Äôs a Democrat underneath.
How about that short horse in England?
They think it‚Äôs stuck in mud.
George Clooney may show up on ER.
You know Rush Lim and the other one
who took all the rich guy‚Äôs cash.
He‚Äôs going to plead and Jay Leno
will have his say later on.
By the way, it‚Äôs a full moon.
Look out the window at the perfect sky but
don‚Äôt forget the names whispered in the stars.
Jessica, Daniel, Jeffrey, Patrick
echo in blood, in guns, in storms.
They‚Äôre coming home.
-- David Plumb
David Plumb attended Syracuse University majoring in Political Science and English. He worked as a medical technician, a paramedic and a laboratory technician. One evening he went to a party someone read Lawrence Ferlinghetti‚Äôs Coney Island of the Mind. He began writing. After a tour as a U.S. Naval Officer in Vietnam, he rented a farmhouse in upstate New York and worked in a slaughterhouse for not enough cash and all the heart and tongue he could take home. In San Francisco, he went to printing school, published Journal 31, directed the Intersection Poetry Series and worked a series of jobs to maintain his writing. He has taught creative writing at The University of California, Berkeley, Florida Atlantic University, Fort Mason Center and Broward College. Writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Sport Literate, The Miami Herald, The Santa Barbara Review, Homeless Not Helpless Anthology, Alimentum, St. Martin‚Äôs Anthology, Mondo James Dean and One Paycheck Away. The author of nine books, David Plumb‚Äôs most recent is, Poetry on Strings with Cuban marionette maker, Pablo Cano. His poem, ‚ÄúNews on a Full March Moon‚Äù was nominated for the Pushcart Prize Anthology 2010.