Blast From The Past #2 – Marilyn Kortemeier

First of all the name of the country is properly two words. Secondly the A is the flat long A, not the rounder short A that is appreciated in the west. But the people who live there and speak the language say the long flat A all the time. Also, did you see “Frontline” on PBS the other day. It was all about Senator John McCain. I was pleased to see that I remembered that first interview he did for the camera’s the right way. He had been beaten so badly that he could not stand up, or even sit up. He did that first interview lying on his bunk. Donald Trump says he’s not a war hero, i’d like to see just how long Trump would last under that kind of torture.

The next thing to remember is that when the war in Vietnam ended the first time, we had a treaty with North Vietnam. We were removing out troops under that treaty. When we got them down to a certain level that the North Vietnamese felt they could handle the troops that were left in the south, they attacked. That was when we had to evacuate Saigon.

It wasn’t until after the war was over for good that we discovered what Ho Chi Minh was really trying to do. If you think about it you can completely understand the man. He was trying to drive foreign invaders out of his country. He would have done anything to achieve that aim. He tried talking to the US about it and to the UN. He got nowhere with the west so he turned to the Chinese and the communists. The US took over the war from the French; recall that Vietnam was a French colony before WWII. The French have always seen themselves as the most civilized country on Earth. They have always thought it was their duty to bring civilization to the rest of the world. Can you imagine that ego, WOW! Even though WWII virtually bled them white, they refused to give up any of their colonies. In 1956 Algeria began a bloody conflict that gained them their freedom from France. It was due to these two factors that the French finally agreed to get out of Vietnam, but only if the US would get into Vietnam and we were not to give the Vietnamese their freedom. We were to maintain some sort of control over them because the French insisted they were still little more than savages. They had to be because they weren’t French. We actually started sending troops in there in 1958, under Eisenhower.

© Marilyn Kortemeier

Blast from the Past – Vietnam – Marilyn Kortemeier

Everyone knows all about the news footage that was shot by the reporters covering the war in Viet Nam.  We used to see those over our dinner tables every night.  They also know about the official protests in every large city in America.  But what they don’t know about it about how it divided families.  This often also happened over the dinner table.  I remember my father and my brother sitting opposite each other and having discussions about the war.  For my father, the government was always right.  The government could do no wrong.  For my brother it was always the opposite, the government was always wrong, it couldn’t do anything right.  I tended to side with my father.  My little brother sided with my mother.  How on earth it did not turn into screaming matches, I will never know.  But I do remember one night when my older brother stated unequicacally ​”If I get drafted, I’m taking off for Canada.”  My father said, “If you do that, don’t ever come home.”  That was the way a lot of families were.  The sons had very definite opinions against the war and the father’s had very definite opinions for.  And when the sons did get their draft notices they took off in the middle of the night for Canada.  Fathers would do a lot of things to let their sons know that they were ashamed of the boys.  And the families would not see their 18 year old son again.  For my family, you might say that we lucked out.  My brother was legally blind without his glasses, so he flunked his physical.  They put him down as 4F.  That meant that they would only take him if they had to look under the barrel.  For myself, I joined the Navy.  Women who were not nurses were not allowed in the country at the time.  So I worked supporting our sailors and marines stateside here.  And, surprisingly, my older brother never showed my anything but respect for my decision.  I did hear, from time to time, about the boys who were in Canada.  They were happy with Canada, but miserable to be separated from their families.  When the war was over, and clemency was declared for them, most were happy to try to return home and be reunited with their families.  But the important events in the lives of families that they had missed were gone forever.  I mean events such as weddings and funerals, etc.  So in the end it was rather more sad than happy.
© Marilyn Kortemeier

Heed Not to What Comes Glittering – Emmanuel Joseph

Heed Not To What Comes Glittering

Heed not to what comes glittering
Keep an eye peeled of yourselves,
if comes its embrace
upon your souls,
in its alms, where lovers meet.
Let go, not wholly of your hearts,
if comes walking its lips
from the heart’s basement to its peak,
unleashing your desires
flaming in you like stars.
Stay awake in your dreams,
if seems glittering into reality
that which methinks are nothing,
when borrowed the stories of mine.
Be not easily drawn
in your youthful ages,
so readily with widely-opened hands,
into its domain,
for its smile ends in a void
where bygone lovers have ebbed
to the tides of time.
Love, is not as defined,
so heed not to what comes glittering.

© Emmanuel Joseph


Emmanuel Joseph was born in the northern part of Sierra Leone, in the bread basket called Kono District, and schooled at Koidu District Educational Center where he sat to the National Primary School Examination. He is reading Politics Science and History at the Athens of West Africa, Fourah Bay College, University Of Sierra Leone.

Since he became a poet, he has been part of the race of contemporary poets of contemporary issues affecting humanity. His poetry ranges from all corners where the surge of pang seems to live, ranging from love, humanity, abandonment, loneliness, and hopelessness.

belonging in more than hundred writing forums, his writings capture societal issues left to die in the spine of human memories.He has published many poems and has been translated in many publication sites, literary magazines, blog, and journals at home and abroad.

His most credit is Tuck Magazine, Atunis Poetry, Seshat Literary Magazine, Dissident Voice, Indian Periodical, Sierra Leone Web and the likes.

8 Poems by Zeki Gumus – Translated from Turkish




I didn’t steal the spring flowers

which fill in my heart from you

I wanted to protect your love

by the natal love


No word has remained to write

if you want to know my love

take a glass of red wine

look for me at each taste remaining on your lip


Don’t be afraid

If you say “I haven’t experienced the love”

extend your hand into my cellar with hope

I will suffer for your sin



©  Zeki Gumus






Yüreğime dolan bahar
çiçeklerini çalmadım senden
doğuştan gelen sevgiyle
korumak istedim aşkını

Yazılacak sözler kalmadı
aşkımı tanımak istersen
bir kadeh kırmızı şarap al
dudağında kalan her tatta beni ara

Korkma karanlığı sunmam sana
sevgiyi tatmadım diyorsan
mahzenime umutla uzat elini
günahlarını ben alırım


©  Zeki Gümüş




Nobody opened his door

didn’t lay a bed and a quilt

near his hot stove

didn’t give a glass of tea

the fears which we raise by our own hands

the hopes at a side of our hearts

were waiting for friend voices to wrap

the clouds were crying while we were going away

empty streets when we looked back

loneliness filling in our eyes in darkness


©  Zeki Gumus






Kimse kapısını açmadı

sıcak sobasının yanına

yatak yorgan sermedi

bir bardak çay vermedi

ellerimizde büyüttüğümüz korkular

kalbimizin bir köşesinde umutlar

saracağı dost sesleri beklerdi

biz giderken bulutlar ağlardı

dönüp baktığımızda boş sokaklar

karanlıkta gözlerimize dolan yalnızlıklar



©  Zeki Gümüş



A contratrian flower was blossoming there

blossoming on the mountains which I haven’t seen

it was warm as a galanthus


A flower had been blossoming there

I felt neither its odour

Nor its warmness on your skin


©  Zeki Gumus






Orda aykırı bir çiçek açardı
görmediğim dağlarda açan
kardelen kadar sıcaktı

Orada bir çiçek açarmış
ne kokusunu hissettim
ne de tenindeki sıcaklığı


©  Zeki Gümüş



If the life which you had lost doesn’t come back

By the raising of the primitive screams

Don’t cry by turning in upon yourself

With the reflection of the light impinging of your face


While the bygone contrarian feelings

Are transitivizing, don’t stay silent

You can’t any friend to you except yourself

Come on, get up from the mud, don’t cry


©  Zeki Gumus






İlkel çığlıkların yükselmesiyle

Kaybettiğin yaşam geri gelmezse

Yüzene vuran ışık yansımasıyla

İçine kapanıp gizlice ağlama


Geçmişte kalan aykırı duygular

Şekil değiştirirken sessiz durma

Sana senden başka dost olmaz ki

Haydi kalk çamurdan ağlama


©  Zeki Gümüş



I have wanted freedom for years

I have raised longings up to the sky

I have scattered hopes to the stars


Now, I see that those fed feelings

The resistances which I had lived are at the past

The freedom had remained far away


©  Zeki Gumus






Özgürlük istedim yıllarca

Özlemler büyüttüm gökyüzüne

Umutlar saçtım yıldızlara


Görüyorum ki beslenen duygular

Yaşadığım dirençlerden geride

Çok uzaklarda kalmış özgürlük


©  Zeki Gümüş



One night

in a rainy weather

I had been enlaced to the quilt

the sky had been a line for my eye

by a black dream


One moment

who knows on which roof

who knows on which chimney

I had remembered the sparrows

which had hidden between the cold walls


A few hours later

the clouds had stopped crying

with the first warmness of the sun

at that moment, three sparrows

carried the hopes to the blueness, freely


©  Zeki Gumus






Bir gece

yağmurlu havada

sarılmıştım yorgana

gökyüzü çizgi olmuştu

siyah düşle gözüme


Bir an

kim bilir hangi çatıda

kim bilir hangi bacada

soğuk duvara gizlenmiş

serçeler gelmişti aklıma


Saatler sonra

güneşin ilk sıcaklığıyla

ağlamayı kesmişti bulutlar

o anda maviliğe üç serçe

umutları taşıdılar özgürce


 ©  Zeki Gümüş



This time, the hope has blossomed

inside me with the spring

spot by spot


My eyes have carried life

to the roses which were

bursting into bud  in the dreams

every daybreak


Daffodil, carnation

there are how many flowers

which of names I don’t know

shoot up to my longings


I have written the poems last night

have lighted up a cigarette

have hurled the verses to the stars


©   Zeki Gumus







Umut  bu kez içimde

baharla çiçek açtı

benek benek


Gözlerim düşlerde

tomurcuklaşan güllere

her seher can taşıdı

damla damla


Nergis karanfil

adını bilmediğim

nice çiçekler var ki

boy veriyor özlemlerime


Geceden yazdım şiirleri

yaktım bir sigara

savurdum dizeleri yıldızlara


©  Zeki Gümüş



This time, the hope has blossomed

inside me with the spring

spot by spot


My eyes have carried life

to the roses which were

bursting into bud  in the dreams

every daybreak


Daffodil, carnation

there are how many flowers

which of names I don’t know

shoot up to my longings


I have written the poems last night

have lighted up a cigarette

have hurled the verses to the stars


©  Zeki Gumus







Umut  bu kez içimde

baharla çiçek açtı

benek benek


Gözlerim düşlerde

tomurcuklaşan güllere

her seher can taşıdı

damla damla


Nergis karanfil

adını bilmediğim

nice çiçekler var ki

boy veriyor özlemlerime


Geceden yazdım şiirleri

yaktım bir sigara

savurdum dizeleri yıldızlara


©  Zeki Gümüş


Zeki Gumas is a socialist and poet from Turkey. He has been published in publications such as The Wagon Magazine, Typoetic, Poesia, and Belleville Park Pages. 



“Hour of the Wolf” by John Sullivan 

Hour of the Wolf

by John Sullivan


triage in Seattle at Broadway & Pine,

 2nd night of the WTO (1999)


at 3 AM – a dying time for the people   so a lot do die    this hour

like a custom      so it’s said: like hard time in the cry room   for little baby Who’s

like a hot wire    buried in the wound     of all them little Who’s


(and so, the Why-so Big Who crawls into bed

with dying creatures:  sin-eater  raven  empty

eyeless   Big Who says “I’ll see you later,”

Big Who says, “look backward, look ahead, look

away,”  Big Who also says, “your ghost is only

yours, so what’s the rub-a-dub, and why

you all so goddamn guileless?”)


old man, dark-skin     cold-cold rain falls down

on an old man     face-down     in the street

shock grenades     dumpster barricades full of flame

tear gas drift   into neighborhoods     tight around

the little Who’s throat   coughs hard    deep   choking on it


(policia = heroina    sprayed onto a stucco

wall in Barcelona   back-a-days, the Big Who

sprayed me, shot me up with: What?  With What?

“And so we all evolve alone,” or so says the

Big Bad Who)


dark-skin old man    drops like a rock   like a rubber

bullet hits him    whoosh of gas   final-flat-wallop

sharp ooof!   of breath    hits an old man   right above

his right   eye     throbs it   does    (probably)

a deep gash above his right eye, throbs    (probably)

drops him down, prone    (probably)    crawls, he   sure, he tries   (probably)

toward sanctuary    at the bus stop


(The Big Who says “my art infects your life,

so suck it up” – that voice of The Big Who,

all up in my head   your head

our head(s), together    when

the Big Who says move it, you gotta’ go

do it, Big Who says “Move!”  or Big Who’s

gonna’ hurt you bad     hurt you bad

lay a long-time hurt-you-bad on you)




two girls     one dark-skin, too      one less-so, maybe white

maybe not    drag the old man    dark-skin gash   above his right eye

throbs (probably)    flat knocked-out (maybe)    drag the old man onto

a bus stop bench   to sanctuary   (at Broadway & Pine)


one girl pulls off her sweater     props    his head on her sweater    for sanctuary

from the cold-cold rain     the other girl     covers him up   with her coat, covers him

up     in the cold-cold rain    with her coat    for sanctuary    and turn, they do

together    jump back    into Broadway    into  flash gust     deep slash    of grief

this anger night      to fight The Cops    again


(“Now I see you, again,“ says the Big Who

to me, says the Big Who, to you.

“Now, I see,” says the Big Bad Who,

“but I lie a lot, too.  It’s what I do.

I’ll see you later on, again,”

says the Big Who to me,

says the Big Bad Who to you.)


The Cops!  The Cops!   squads    of feet, flying    of boots     shouting, battle-bats

gizmos of pure pain    and Big Creature will to use them     right!      in Houston

New York City    Jakarta      Moscow     Beijing     Minsk     L.A.   Seattle    D.C.

in Barcelona, Spain


so what little Who would not run when The Cops say: Stop?


or what little Who, instead, juts her jaw      stares straight ahead       straight at The Cops,

says: Bring It!


(“ain’t no cold-cold grave

gonna’ hold my body down,”

“in your dreams,” says the Big Who,

again, straight up, to the little)


or what little Who else says    no mas     says    scare me   you may –    you do

in fact  –  but another little Who is here   to freeze   to shiver     to wait

for the big hit    in fear?    in mad resistance?    to wait for what the little Who

never wants to get     it ain’t no    gift at all     to wrangle    inside and out

little Who with little Who   with other little Who’s


and yet, another little Who says, yet again: “O-please don’t let my ghost survive me,

do            not”


(so pray, now, maybe so

so pray, now, for sure-O

so pray, now: to some kinda’ Who-so-ever?

and ever, for little Who?  all the little

Who’s?   and Why-so?)


Listen!  Listen up!     The Po-Lice make a great roar    square jaw

heavy brutal teeth     a hell-gate unto     Po-Lice beat their bats

on their shields      make a roar      no words: just big thick hard sound

like sharp rock    cracks against     no relief     against your head     big fear?

big resistance?    up in your head      club you back – club you down   The Cops

unleash a great   tribal   roar: their boom-boom-boom cuts open

night    and grief


(Big Who’s gonna’ tell you,

Big Who’s gonna’ tell you,

when Big Who says move it,

you best go do it:

“I’ll see you later,

I’ll see ya’all, once

again,” so says the Big Bad Who)


    © John Sullivan