..... poetry .....



"With Love, From Vietnam"


My car mechanic of 20 years, 
   I am trying to understand him. 

He greets me like a Long Lost Brother
   as I drive up
   and drops whatever he is doing,
   no matter how busy he is. 

What others couldn't see about me,
   he must have sensed,
As I have only recently become
   and empathetic towards others. 

Maybe he knows the 
   permanent shame I carry
   for decimating his people for a sham
   Domino Theory,
And how many times I argued and marched
   against The War. 

Maybe he knows I'm also a Buddhist,
   actually a Bu-Fi (short for Buddhist Sufi), 
   and smile every time I see his
   altar with fruit, 
   surrounded by
   air filters and axle struts. 

Maybe he knows my 
   favorite jazz composer
   is a hero to his countrymen,
   Nguyên Lê,
Who can dissolve a musical border
   faster than you can say 
   Build A Wall.   

What he charges is laughable,
   and that's exactly what I did
   when he pulled a pheasant feather
   out of my air conditioner! 

Lose his cool? 
Though I lost mine, 
   when the city shut him down 
   on a bogus violation. 

I'm still trying to figure out 
   where all his love comes from,
   where it came from, 
Still trying to understand
   what he sees in my field.

I know what I see in his . . . 

dedicated to Mike Dang




August 2018





©2018, Michael Smolens