Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

John Samuel Tieman: In Transit

on the train between Prague and Vienna
I wanted to compose a poem
something in a holy moment

less than the Elevation at the Mass of course
but still filled with incense and breasts
and no less than the wetness between a woman’s legs

instead I remember Basic Training
1969 and how I’d aim my M-14
at a target that looked like a man

only in outline so I’d imagine
a Communist except I’d never met a Communist
much less a Czech

but I’d learn how to kill a Red and would
today I imagine the guy
seated catty-corner from me is the grandson

of my enemy and the countryside
rushing by is trying and the train is trying
and trying

to compel the two of us in some direction
any direction that’s true and dark and
improbable as a tunnel through a foreign mountain

John Samuel Tieman served with the army’s 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. His reflections upon war and coming home appear in his chapbook, A Concise Biography Of Original Sin (BkMk Press).

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This entry was posted on November 11, 2014 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , , .

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