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GI Bill Suburbanite Dad July 22, 2007

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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He’s standing in the middle of his backyard,

GI Bill suburbanite on a July afternoon,

white t-shirt sweat rings graphically displayed

under outstretched arms.

Jet black hair glossed back, it looked like he was ready to fly.

Dad, hamming it for the camera,

nothing new. If I have one, I have dozens

of similar character and composition.

He wasn’t reluctant to speak of the war,

or the others he’d seen since.

He had pictures he took and a stack taken by others,

he shared at the reunions until too many were dead.

Germany, Belgium, France, 1943, 1944,

it was ugly, he would say, but there was beer and girls

and helpless children and nuns to protect.

He was a medic and he patched his own and the enemy,

many of both dying without regard to his efforts.

And it wasn’t that he was so brave…he was drafted,

and he was the first one to tell he would have rather not go

but it was simply more attractive than prison.

Sure, saving the free world from tyranny was noble,

but it wasn’t until he was back home and the years rolled on

that he came to think of it as patriotic at all.

“When you’re in the middle of it,” he told us, “It was kill or be killed.”

I thought it was heroic since he could have run.

I thought it was patriotic since he helped preserve freedom

for his country and others.

He never voted in an election. “All politicians are crooks,” he said,

“Just because they don’t call it Mafia doesn’t mean it ain’t.”

And, of course, he was right since it’s true,

the older I got, the smarter the old man became.

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