A Poem by Coyote Poetry
The year 1991, late Winter. I finished my training at Fort Lee, Virginia. I received my orders, orders issued, sending me direct to Iraq. I took the long way home to Michigan. I decided to stay two days in Philly. I loved the old city. I spend many weekends there when I was training at Fort Dix. I had two-week to spend with family before reporting back to Fort Dix to deploy.
I found a dark bar, playing good song and quiet. The Army training made me appreciate silence. No peace with young and loud soldiers near. The bartender said hello, introduce herself as Sally and she left me be. I was drinking the Long Island ice teas and traveling back in memories of pretty faces. I was smoking a $10 cigar and trying to balance my life. I have done many foolish things in my life. Last month quit a good paying job to join a war. Bad decision or not. I made with blood pen signature and determined mind.
I was off to war, hiding real face. Two brothers committed suicide, one in 1989 and one in 1988. I held a 30-30 on my kitchen table for a year. I couldn’t do the Hemingway death. Easy way out. Brothers broke my heart and I found dead-end. I was saved by kind and sweet Leona. She was a rare and sweet angel in my life.
I awoke from my day-dreaming by a dark-eyes beauty who sat near me. She reached over and she caressed my G.I Joe high and tight. She smiled and she told me. My brother was a soldier and the Vietnam war messed him-up. I turned and I saw a 40 or so auburn hair beauty. She had kind eyes and she asked me. Was I okay? I told her thank you for asking and I was fine. She told me. Sorry soldier, Cindy Ann going to talk to you. Wanted or not. I see sorrow, regret and disappointment in your young face. I understand sorrow and I learn the gift of concern, kindness and love is needed. Damn Army drugged-up my brother and he is dead. Dead is dead and you are still alive.
I told her. My payment was due and I wasn’t kind. I have been heartless and cold. I left people too soon without a proper goodbye. People left me without reasons, leaving empty places. Damn war steal from us and we abuse the people we should love. I am sorry about your brother. She gave me long look and she laughed. She asked me my name and I told her my name was Johnnie. Nice to have met you Cindy Ann. She asked me. What are you doing in the city of brotherly love? Drinking alone and looking like death ran over. I was like you for many years. Now I’m a Red Cross volunteer and I wait till 3 am in the morning for soldiers returning from war. I give them hugs, juice and a cookie. This is how I repented. Old ancient saying, can’t change the past, can’t take back words and you must release regret.
She reached over and she gave me a hug. She smiled at me and she told me. No-more drinking, no-more sad talk, Cindy Ann want to go dancing. Can you dance Johnnie? I smiled at her and I told her. You are sweet and so kind. Made foolish man want to dance with a Philly beauty. She took my hands and she dragged me to the nearby dance hall.
In the morning, she drove me to the airport, she gave me a juicy kiss and she told me. Please be safe. She wrote me a letter every week whiled I was deployed. She was my blessing from the city of love.