Eating Poetry (XXXIX) – “From back when it was Nam time I tell you what”

by A. Jay Adler on July 21, 2012
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Here is the vernacular as the purest verbal music, singing the culture from which it is pulled, clots of earth still clinging. You may find it hard to separate the units of meaning on first read. It will be easier on second, and if you listen here to the poet reading it, you will feel you emerged from a cave into sunlight. A better reading, I think, would be faster clipped, more energetic, but still, it is like learning a new language on first hearing.

Hutch

By Atsuro Riley

—by way of what they say

From back when it was Nam time I tell you what.
Them days men boys gone dark groves rose like Vietnam bamboo.
Aftergrowth something awful.
Green have mercy souls here seen camouflage everlasting.
Nary a one of the brung-homes brung home whole.

 

Mongst tar-pines come upon this box-thing worked from scrapwood.
Puts me much myself in mind of a rabbit-crouch.
Is it more a meat-safe.
Set there hid bedded there looking all the world like a coffin.
Somebody cares to tend to it like a spring gets tendered clears the leaves!

 

Whosoever built it set wire window-screen down the sides.
Long about five foot or thereabouts close kin to a dog-crate.
A human would have to hunch.
Closes over heavy this hingey-type lid on it like a casket.
Swearing to Jesus wadn’t it eye-of-pine laid down for the floor.

 

Remembering the Garner twins Carl and Charlie come home mute.
Cherry-bombs 4th of July them both belly-scuttling under the house.
Their crave of pent-places ditchpipes.
Mongst tar-pines come upon this box-thing worked from scrapwood.
From back when it was Nam time I tell you what.

 

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