Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Born To Be Wild













BORN TO BE WILD

Old guy on a motorbike
parked at McDonalds
in the early morning air
with a latte in his hand.
Sets it on the sidewalk
while he pretends to inspect a tire
and think about where it is he wants to go.
About my age, I'd say, give or take a few.
White sideburns below the dark blue
bandana tied behind his head.
I wonder how many old guys I've seen
like this. Those same tatoos.
That sleeveless jacket.
Soon as I catch sight of one,
ponytail roped tight against his sloped back,
I see jungles like a Walter Cronkite newsreel.
I see Danny Maroney
in his bulky camo green,
tripping along campus in his too tight jeans,
smoking way too much of everything.
I see buckskin fringe flying as I dance
to the music in my head.
And Danny is long dead.
And this one must be retired, and tired.
Born to be wild nothing more than
coffee in the warm morning air.
For a minute, he looks up and sees me
in my SUV on my way to work,
and he thinks he knows me.
I'm that girl he remembers.
The one on the dance floor.
The one he came home for
all those years ago.

This is dedicated to my dear friend Danny Maroney who was killed in Viet Nam and died 40 years later. Rest in Peace, Danny Boy.

31 comments:

  1. There is so much going on beyond the obvious in this poem. I'm still gathering it in. Poignant and touching and raw, beautiful and sad all at once. ...and he thinks he knows me. I'm that girl he remembers. Love this.

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    1. Thanks, Carol. This was one of those moments for me...seeing him truly took me back to so much...

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  2. ugh..you yanked those heart strings...hard...in this one...great story telling and so many of our boys coming home or not...to those who have been waiting...nicely done....

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    1. Yes, Brian, so many, many wars - so much left in the deserts and jungles. So much lost there and here at home. So much sadness. I wonder if those who live through it are ever finished with it?

      Thanks for letting me know how you related to this. I appreciate it.

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  3. This is such a touching poem. I hear you. I still remember when I was in college a guy in speech class gave a speech about his brother who was MIA in Vietname. Never came home. I still remember this speech. So many Danny Maroneys.

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    1. We used to wear bracelots with the names of the missing. I wonder how many families never got their boys back...so sad. How does one cope with that?

      Thanks for sharing your memory. We were all, in some way or other, affected.

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  4. Be in peace now Dan, your nation is finally grateful for your service. Welcome home brother.


    Ride on old man, ride on until you decide you're to brittle to ride anymore.

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  5. Lovely & poignant (as so many of your poems are). I wrote a poem once about a young man who never came home from that war (my aunt's boyfriend). Sometimes I wonder which ones were better or worse off...

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    1. I'd love to see your poem, Bug. I knew some who were lost, some who came home, and some who refused to go. It seems to me like all of them suffered.

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    2. Here's the link - it was for a Poetry Jam prompt: http://danabugseyeview.blogspot.com/2011/05/ode-to-doug.html

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    3. I remember this one! I remember thinking how young you are :-) and how you "get it" now.

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  6. I saw this poem, felt this poem. Well done!

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  7. As Eastwood's Outlaw Josey Wales put it, "I guess we all died a little in that damned war." The war's over, now, Danny...have a beer on me...and God bless all those Danny Boys who are still among us, from that and more recent wars...all kinds of wars. What a magnificent Eulogy, Karen! Mercy, you have me crying now...:-)

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    1. That's a great line...true, I think. Yoir comment has me thinking even more about my friend and the tortured life he led. He was so very smart and kind and funny. Such a loss. Now YOU have ME crying!

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  8. I relate to this poem and those times. To all the Danny Boys. And I also look at my contemporaries now who have tried to hang on to that born to be wild look... thanks for posting at Poetry Jam. Hope to see you return.

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    1. Thanks, Peggy. We are of an era that changed the world in so many ways, no wonder some got stuck there! Looking at the state of things now, I wonder what we accomplished? (don't I sound OLD?)

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I used to get to the Jam frequently -- one of the original Poetry Bus riders -- but life, you know...

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  9. This is a perfect poem for a book about peace because it demonstrates how everyday living and survival are torn asunder by war. Brilliant work, Karen. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I don't usually send my poems out, but that's a book in which I'd love to be included!

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  10. I related to your poem also ... my husband spent a year in Da Nang in the late 60s .. a college fraternity brother was killed within six months of arriving 'in country.' Tragic that so many 'Dannys' had to die. Your poem is amazing.

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    1. Thanks, Helen. The things they brought home...it was mind-boggling. So sad. Bless your husband.

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  11. Thanks, Linda. I really don't send my poems out much, but that is one book to which I would submit!

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  12. that's a very moving poem thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Juliet.

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  13. beautiful, heart-felt and very touchy with all great wording arranged in such a magnificent way. I like this bitter-sweet memory.

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  14. Very lovely story...you painted a scene very well, keeping your emotions in check, until the last lines. I felt this, and thought you did a great job ~

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  15. A beautiful poem, which I found very moving. Very well crafted.

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  16. Born to be wild nothing more than
    coffee in the warm morning air.


    Love these and the change-up in the end and personal note. Beautiful.

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  17. Karen, I meant to comment on this earlier. When I first read it, I was on my iPod and it was a challenge to respond.
    I saw the link on FB and couldn't remember if I had, so here I am.

    What an amazing piece! I tell you, you are one of the poets I admire greatly and your words often make emotions well up that don't surface very often. You've really got a stunner here!

    ~Kat

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