Could not find or muster up another poem for tonight. So, here are the first three paragraphs of a book I was once contemplating, but will probably never finish.
It was good to be young then
To be close to the earth . . .
None of us believed that the Vietnam War would ever end. American involvement there had begun before we were old enough to know anything else and the body counts had been a part of the nightly news ever since we had been old enough to watch. It was as regular and constant as the weather report. There were a few guys in school who looked forward to military service, or thought that they did, or acted like they did. Every year there were one or two who had not opted for the student deferment who came back to the high school wearing the uniform to “see a few teachers” but really to impress the girls, a few of whom, I guess, might still have been impressed, and to look down on the rest of us. These guys seemed smart at the time. Brave. Ahead of the game. Real men. Some of them were killed and maimed and, over the next four decades, most of the rest went from one bad marriage and lousy job to another until they killed themselves or found enough psychiatric help to get their medications properly regulated.
There were some who looked for ways to avoid the draft: going to Canada, opting for conscientious-objector status, finding some skill that might keep them off of the battlefield. I did my best not to think of it at all. I was young, even younger than my young age, and allowed myself to be young and nobody else demanded more of me at the time. The war was, even as we imagined it, too awful to consider. I know now, from my many conversations with those who served, that, in truth, the experience was far worse, even, than I, as an eighteen-year-old, could ever have imagined.
I thought about the here and now. I thought about those wonderful creatures, one or two of them in every classroom, with long hair and big, brown eyes. Girls.