Imagine my good luck. First time in London. First time in Europe. And while sight-seeing at Buckingham Palace, I’d met Araceli, a pretty Spanish girl. We were both waiting to see the changing of the guard.
Pete Hart shared a hole with Graham. Cannon was with Hicks. The Ditty Bops split their two holes, and Borden was backing up. They left one hole unfilled, but anyone off-shift could sleep or rest there. They decided two-hour shifts would be best, and started to try to get some sleep at eight o’clock. They were tired from the early morning start and the digging fox holes. But, the anxiety of an attack kept them awake. Sergeant Maddox got them started at six PM and then disappeared. It was starless and black as pitch.
Yusef Komunyakaa doesn’t return my emails. This confuses me. When I met the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet two years ago at a small house at the tiny Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, I thought I had made a positive impression. At the conclusion of his speaker’s engagement there, Yusef had even stopped me on the way out the door to shake my hand. When I queried him recently, he remembered this encounter and agreed to an interview. I am unsure why he doesn’t respond. But thinking about it now, I can piece together why.
On the day that I met Yusef, the rain fell intensely. Everyone was soaked from the short trip from the parking lot to the building. Most of the attendees were veterans; almost none of them brought umbrellas. Considering that many of them had survived monsoon seasons in ‘Nam, why should they get worried about a little rain? Yusef’s College appointed handler took a long time to introduce him — there was a lot to introduce: a Bronze Star for service in the Army as an information specialist in Southeast Asia; three degrees, including an MA and MFA at respectable universities; a collection of eight published poetry books that boasts the Pulitzer Prize-winning Neon Vernacular; and all sorts of teaching accolades, most notably, English Professor at Princeton University. Read more
O-Dark-Thirty is the literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project. The VWP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Washington, DC that provides no-cost writing seminars and workshops for veterans, service members, and military family members. Visit us at http://veteranswriting.org.