My best friend’s uncle
used to tell us stories
about life in Vietnam.
He smoked hand-rolled cigarettes
that turned his fingers yellow
and sipped whiskey straight from the bottle
as he explained how they’d used chocolate bars
to lure the children to landmines.
He chuckled while describing
the way the “gooks” exploded,
but told us we were too young
to hear about the whorehouses
he’d visit on his days off.
—from Rattle #28, Winter 2007
Damien Echols: “I’ve always considered myself more of a taker of divine dictation than a writer. Poems are the ghosts that follow me back from visits to my sacred places, and I commit them to paper in order to get them out of my head.” (twitter)