Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Lieu" - a story of love in war


by Mike Marcellino

South Vietnam, 1967.
Silly beginning, careless ending
lizards clung to the dim lit wall.

Thomas and i met her at Sherwood Forest,
the nightclub,
smiling at us over beer,
and a now and then
Saigon Tea.

In a
Honda 90
humanly propelled
by a papa-san
I rode through
hit and miss,
foot, leg, peddle-powered
traffic -
Saigon streets
darkness after curfew
riding in the close warm
black night.
Teaming, steaming
from the Tahiti,
20 century
same on the inside

While Thomas
i shivered
(not really).
Inside outside
perfect night for baseball.

dug store bought;
i read her scrolling
on a crumpled
piece of
light brown
one six four and one-half
some street.

Self-conscious me
in Bermuda shorts,
naked legs
walking down winding back alleys
to find Lieu
and ma-muc.

-burnt red stained beetle nut chew
in her mouth

by an earthen
ceramic set.

Bermuda shorts hairy legs me and
ma muc
who smiles,
giggles -
Lieu’s ma ma san mother.

Her daughter came
made me eat
gobbling hers.

and ma-muc
grabbing my leg hair,

First joy of waiting,
simple thing
so tense
exciting -

Showering from
body tall vases
in the corner
morning after
love, her
surfer t-shirt mini on.

Lieu laughed,

Maybe she loves

Her oily
brown face,
round, dark eyes
long, straight black hair.

Not a fair maiden,
but no whore.

Copyright Mike Marcellino, 2007

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Walls of Fire - the song, lyrics and story

The Walls of Fire: story behind the song
by Mike Marcellino

Here's one of my favorite photographs I took while serving as a U. S. Army correspondent and photojournalist in the Vietnam War.  I like it because it's so pastoral, a far cry from the horror of war.

Recently I wrote a poem about the sacrifices of American troops from the Civil War to Vietnam and the gulf wars and we recorded the song, "The Walls of Fire."

Mike Marcellino took this photo with a Pentax 35 mm camera on search and destroy mission with the 33rd South Vietnamese Rangers and United States Army forward observers of the U.S. Army 23rd Artillery Group in the Iron Triangle during the Vietnam War in 1968.

The mission occurred during The TET Offensive, a surprise attack by North Vietnamese regular and VC troops throughout South Vietnam.  The enemy attack began on January 31, breaking the Vietnamese New Year's holiday cease fire.  TET was the heaviest fighting of the war. With heavy U. S. casualties and scenes of the VC taking over the American Embassy in Saigon (for a few hours), TET was the turning point in growing opposition to the war by the American people.  TET was was a complete military victory for U. S. troops, nearly eliminating all of the Viet Cong forces.  North Vietnamese troops took over the fight.  After the signing of a peace treaty in Paris the United States withdrew its forces in 1973.  The North Vietnam defeated the South Vietnam in 1975 and Vietnam was reunified.

For his reporting on the mission, the Rangers presented Mike with a captured Viet Cong flag during a formal ceremony. More than 40 years later, he still has the flag.  (Copyright by Mike Marcellino)

To listen here's the link (or there's a music player on the top of his blog)

The Walls of Fire on ReverbNation

The walls of fire
By Mike Marcellino

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers
rock cliffs and open fields -
Hornet’s Nest at Shiloh
Devil’s Den, Gettysburg.

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers
sea to shining sea -
lost in the Argonne Forest
face down on beaches at Normandy
frozen by the waters of Chosin Reservoir.

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers
paddies, highlands -
Nui Ba Dinh, the Black Virgin Mountain
the Ashau Valley
along the perimeter of Khe Sanh.

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood, carnage
bodies of brothers
empty deserts
filled with giant rising suns -
Fallujah rooftops
unknown streets of Sadr City
barren mountains, caves of Tora Bora.

The walls of fire
grow higher, still higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers

The walls of fire copyright by Mike Marcellino 2009