Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fall Of 2003

Fall Of 2003
By: James Dubeau

I had carried
The Things They Carried
By Tim O’Brien
Back in the Fall
Of 2003
To my mattress
In my barren room

I had carried
Thoughts and feelings
Grief and pain
In that time
Of my life
As I tried to figure out
What I wanted
Where I was going

I had carried
The book home from class
In a bag too heavy for its straps
Weighted down
With my homework
My books
My pride
My shame
As a returning student
Back to school
After being away
For oh so long

I had carried
My fears of a life well wasted
In my back pocket
The girlfriend at the time
Did not appreciate
That I was aimless
Adrift at sea
With no guidance
Or school in me
So I re-upped
Returning to that which might
If the cards played out just right
Lead to a better future

I had carried
Thoughts
Dreams
Wishes
Of better times
Better futures
With the girlfriend
Ex-girlfriend
Roommate
But these things
Would never come to pass
I knew this
Even though
My foolish heart
Remained hopeful

I had carried
Upon my arms
Scars of failure
Seeping to the lows
Just to survive
To feel the pain
Of life and death
Just scraping by
Selling plasma
And my soul
That fall of 2003

I had carried
That book of poetry
Assigned to me
By my Freshman English class
And it in turn
Carried me
Back to Vietnam
With those men
Who lived and died
In that foreign jungle
In that foreign land

I had carried
A bottle of whiskey
And case of cola
To bed with me
That fall afternoon
Where I sat
Upon my mattress
Upon the floor
Back against the wall
Pouring drink after drink
While I read those pages
Living those lives
Of the men fighting
Dieing
Overseas
In the late 60s

I had carried
A lonely dark place
In the corner of my soul
While I sat there
Drinking whiskey
Reading poetry
Thinking about the life
Which I had led
Life which produced
The man I was
The man I am
That day I may have drank
To remember
To forget
To fight back the tears
No longer do I remember
The exact reason
But I do know
That day
I did drink

I had carried
A sense of duty
A sense of pride
In working long hours
Overnight
Every other weekend
Hours which lasted forever
By the end of each late night
My vision would be clouded over
Spots and glares
From the lights
And cleaning supplies
Of my aisle
In the grocery store

I had carried
A sense of shame
In what I had become
Too poor to be an alcoholic
Too depressed to be more
The girl had cautioned
Before leaving our apartment
That I shouldn’t be drinking
Not that much
Not alone
I had enjoyed the drink
The sweet caramel taste
Of the liquor and cola
Swirling about my mouth
Not to become intoxicated
Not to lose control
I could hold my liquor
And I had said so
I don’t think she believed me

I had carried
Perverse amusement
When I sat down
Book and whiskey
In my hands
Nothing like poems
Straight out of Vietnam
Too cheer me up
On a bright Saturday afternoon
I had said out loud
Little did I know
Just how engrossing
Those stories and poems
Would be for me
I could only muster the strength
To look away
Just long enough
To pour another drink
Before being sucked back into
The eyes of a poet
Living and fighting and killing
In Vietnam

I had carried
A belly full of whiskey
When the sun grew heavy
And the bottle was empty
And the book was finished
While my mind was well fed
My body was not
So I walked off
In search of sustenance
A sandwich
Some space
Some time
To decompress
All that I had read
I had walked
Far down University
As evening turned to night
Clouds covered over
The endless sky
Sending me into hiding
From the rain
From the dark of night
At a park pavilion
Filled with rambunctious
Lively high schoolers
High on pot and beer and E

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