Gracious son of Pan! Around your forehead
crowned with flowerets
and with laurel, restlessly roll
those precious balls, your eyes.
Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don’t turn it off! It wasn’t my war! You asked me, I didn’t ask you! And I did what I had to do to win! But somebody wouldn’t let us win! And I come back to the world and I see all those maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting. Calling me baby killer and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me? Who are they? Unless they’ve been me and been there and know what the hell they’re yelling about!
Spotted with brown lees, your cheeks are hollow.
Your fangs gleam. Your breast is like a lyre,
tinklings circulate through your pale arms.
For you! For me civilian life is nothing! In the field we had a code of honor, you watch my back, I watch yours. Back here there’s nothing
Your heart beats in that belly where sleeps the double sex.
Walk through the night, gently moving that thigh,
that second thigh, and that left leg.
Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment, back here I can’t even hold a job parking cars!
It occurred to me that we pronounce the names Rimbaud and Rambo pretty much the same way – and I was tickled by the incongruity of the connection. I have folded Rimbaud’s poem ‘Antique’ in with Rambo’s lament from the movie ‘First Blood’ and I found that the synthesis produces an eerie integrity.