Nov 28, 2016

By Mike Parker I write stream of consciousness poetry. Some call it slam poetry. After I wrote this one about Christmas, it had a lot of heaven; not enough earth. So I added passages from my Viet Nam journals. I embedded their prose between the lines of rhyme trying to seize the essence of Christmas Day without getting in the way of God who made it! If you, the reader, can find the pauses within the writing it has a chance to be a successful effort.



Why a day like Christmas? With three-hundred-sixty-four not like Christmas?! Why send Son? Let Holy Kid stay in bed in comfy heaven? Why confront percentages? Why impede way of things the way they are? Why confront what humans chase to find their bliss in certain twist toward dark abyss … What do you mean the Son’s been gone for several moments? Whose womb? Your Kid? *****

EARTH: Christmas/ Quang Tri,Viet Nam/1969.

Christmas came and went in I Corp. Out the door, without spending minimum 24.

I’m platoon poet making rhyme in place that doesn’t.



Send an army? Go Old Testament! Create quandary! All they are is dirty laundry! Give ‘em December to remember. Consternation! Condemnation! What Holy combination! Why condescension bent toward apprehension? Why grace to place; better sold after the fall? Fear! What a tool! Slam them! Find compliance in absolute obedience! Their ears don’t hear. Eyes don’t see. They misuse all five senses?

Highest creation has vacancy between the ears. In heart, as well … And soul???

Well, that’s yours! So, let’s start over with just that. The soul, alone without its tent! Disengagement’s best from nasty bits of bone and flesh. They’ll pass no test for worthiness! … What do you mean that’s the point?


EARTH: Quang Tri, Vietnam.

Recon! Observe. Report. Don’t Engage! Except fear at night. Any thing moving becomes a battalion. Engage fear. Make it know its place.



Your creation lets looting renters occupy his head. They come and go leaving unmade bed, instead of ordered place! They don’t treat it as their own. They wreck the place. Then, move on. No moral ethic. Delinquent payments. Worse is how they always leave the place!… Always?….Okay, if not always, maybe just for centuries. *****


EARTH: Quang Tri, Viet Nam.

Movement last night. Called illumination. Lit us up, too. Not smart. *****


If God’s confounded by earthly lack of stewardship; doesn’t show it. Dictatorship, maybe? Just to give them breather from thinking for themselves! Absolutely appropriate! But, nope! Hope! That binding vine links faith to creator. Essential for God. Essential for created clod. Story Tellers like I AM overlook belligerence to believe in intelligence of their audience. *****

EARTH: Nam Again?

Attached to Company A. Carried kid named Billy in poncho to “Deus Ex Machina” chopper. 50 calibers do God’s talking. Kid begged not to be sent home the way he was. But nobody leaves here, the way they came. Billy the dreamer? Or, schemer like rest of us?



Poise, in the noise, is what it’s called. Standing in heaven’s pocket, Throw a rocket! Hail Mary way down field? Is this new way of God the Father? What about the Law? You mean the one that led to dysfunction in junction ‘tween we and them?

Then, what’s the battle plan? Backed up, as we are in shadow of valley we know God owns? Others count cost of owning such real estate and suggest quick bail. The head who wears the crown must be most level. Absolute ownership finds no time for panic selling. Steady hand. Full throttle! The crown is never leased to lesser uncool head! Disheveled humanity must see God stand tall! Let night be itself. Stay upright in plain sight! Be light!


EARTH: Nam, as usual.

It’s their country. They know all the good hiding places. We’re tourists asking for direction. We ask them. They disappear. What to think? So, don’t.



Ah! Sweet, night! Safe for flight of things with Holy wing? Less traffic ‘round midnight. Chaos of day time come and go gets frozen! Slowed in motion? The night what great concoction! We’ll break the rule that nothing good happens ‘tween one and five! Warm them with orchestrated explanation! Let Angel Proclamation knock lid off expectation! Jesus! He is the plan!… How will He go? As, one of them! You mean a man? Yes! You mean with sword? No, umbilical cord. Bad rhyme, I know. But, catch my meaning heavenly folk. Heaven leans toward love. *****


Deceived by corrupt plastic, my New Testament is now rectangular pulp unable to be opened. Paddy water. Rain. I know John 3:16 and Psalm 23. They’re the only verses needed here. The rest of the Bible… is for civilians.



A baby? Why a baby? Why a child? Why a kid? A kid’s a pause! What says mystery better than a kid? What says history doesn’t matter? What says your past is not your future more than child? What says answer mild to what’s defiled? What says slow and steady wins the case, for humanity better than kid, who makes you human? What says quiet? What says shush? Anger doesn’t matter! Let it splatter other places. Put it on a platter on a shelf till later day. When he’s grown, he’ll reap the seeds you’ve sown. He’ll fight your wars like all kids do. But not now. God’s no angry argument toward must-win persuasion. Take child’s birth to be your turning point. A change of direction. A chance for redemption. A kid’s a reconnection to who we’re meant to be! A kid changes most common madness into innocence and open-eyed wonder. In a world lazy with easy fist let child be calming first and final Word.


EARTH: Nam, still!

Chopper recons; Roundhead and me. We call them pink teams. Bunches of timesout. Without incidence. Easy duty. Then, our Huey’s down. Roundhead’s dead. Reality says I’m alive, but I’m a lie. Pink teams aren’t the lark they used to be. I wish I was Roundhead and he was me.



Thank God for reasoned doubt that we deserve anything but conviction. A kid says always, full

investigation. Face reality? Yes, if absolutely necessary. The human race will get its breath in better pace. Due process? Always! Beginning. Middle. End. The world struts till God sends the best of Who He Is. He, our Always Only Hymn. He, Our Lullaby to Answer lie that screams we exist by accident to live lives lonely. Then, die merely; severely by whim.



I extend my tour by four months to get an early out. We move North to DMZ as 3rd Marines pull

back to states. Sent back to bush because South Viet Army has low morale. Mine’s high. 12 months in country. Still untouched! I’m a cockroach lucky super grunt.



Before heavenly realm commits giving lip to what seems like monumental slip! Are we sure?

Send kid to them? Those stains? Won’t they turn him into lost like them? They’re facets can’t be polished! They’re flightless birds who can’t find imagination’s wing. They’re things in ditches. They’re ruts; unpaved roads. Squandered breath! Shall I continue chewing heaven’s scenery?



We’re losing the light. The darkness now upon them. His birth nigh. My high bid to earth!

Creation’s contractor, knows the stakes. I, the builder know committed house does not lose.

Percentages die before me. One day like Christmas can change a year. Even century. Even more! *****

EARTH: Leaving Nam!

Never fired weapon. Called artillery. Never did anything above and beyond, but I was with kids who

did. Discharged in Washington state. Travel down coast. Send journals home. I’m a good civilian, traveling light. Want to write but not now. Will wait for more perspective. Will write when I get it. *****


God’s face is not a football field high and almost just as wide. He’s not a granite face on

Rushmore. He’s more! He’s the core of who we seek to be. When Mary kissed her kid, she kissed the face of God. A kid like yours and mine. Only, He could change water into wine and, as you have heard, He changes lives, too. And wins the wars we lose.

My first kid was born on Christmas day, 1976. Her name was Rachel. I was an actor in New York with Nam behind me. I had talent. I’d been a grape in a “Fruit of the Loom” commercial. I always found just enough success to make me think I’d beat the odds against me. Working actor? Yeah!

Lots of superman plans made me a fan of me, myself. Career was taking me away from my wife whom I love and call “Big Al,” because she’s as solid as church girls get. I, with my depressions, who fights a constant civil war through the valleys of my head, find rest in often upward glance to Alice and Jesus.

My daughter’s birth shoved my plans aside. The dream survives, but now it has weight and depth of added lives. Two kids more. Annie and Brandon. Happy rhymes. Fourteen grandkids later. I’m overwhelmed with poetry!

The kind of actor you are is the kind of person you are. You can’t be more. But probably… you can be less. I know. I’ve been both. When a father bends low, he sees a child who looks like him without the furrowed brow. He sees his future. So, I became a carpenter. Like Jesus, the carpenter who captured the world, I captured just a portion of the world for mine. Smaller kingdoms fit best, I feel.

My family, my church are my platoons now. Imperfect, for sure, like the one I had in Nam. A man’s imperfect shoulder finds proper place next to other imperfect shoulders like his own. His imperfect heart kept separate and protected; sometimes in other places. But, events dictate imperfect heart must follow imperfect shoulder of imperfect soldier. Thank God for making me a grunt for King like Him. God’s face, bent low, lets me touch the sky!

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