Tag Archives: vietnam war

Lao by Kenn Reagle

She calls me babysan
I am only nineteen years old
I don’t even shave
The skin on my face is soft
Lao giggles when she sees me
She introduces me to her friends
They call me babysan

I see her working in the fields
She offers me her lunch
One small ear of corn
I sit beside her
I eat her corn
What a strange war
At the moment we are winning

Lao points to her friend
Her name, “Minoi!”
“Minoi!” I say
She giggles
They speak
In a language
Incomprehensible to me
Minoi means darling
They call me babysan

I watch the fall of Nha Trang
On television in Lancaster, Ohio
I grieve for Lao and her friends
I won my war
They Called Me Babysan

KENN Reagle IS A FRIEND AND FREQUENT CUSTOMER AT THE COFFEE SHOP WHERE I WORK. HE’S ALSO A POET AND A GREAT CONVERSATIONALIST. HE RECENTLY GAVE ME TWO OF HIS POETRY BOOKS; LAO APPEARS IN NO ONE CALLS ME HERO, A COLLECTION OF POEMS ON HIS VIETNAM WAR EXPERIENCE.

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weekly review

last red leafThis week felt a little off, sort of like Marie Cardouat’s surrealist artwork in the game, Dixit (more on that later). Either my positive attitude or my energy level – or both – tend to run in a cyclical pattern: one week on, one week off. I had such a satisfying week before last that I guess my brain gave my body a break without telling me.

That’s why I need to reflect on it now, to give myself closure and perspective.

This week:

  • a customer compared my coworkers and I to the donuts on a Krispy Kreme conveyor belt in terms of efficiency; it was meant as the highest of compliments.
  • I wrote another poem. I feel really good about this one.
  • I gladly partook in American Apparel’s Friends and Family sale. Hooray for checking things off my wishlist.
  • I considered joining choir, backed out, then considered taking ballet lessons again.
  • three of my sister’s photographs were accepted into a Jacksonville art show; it’s the first non-student exhibit in which her work will be featured!
  • I met with a friend at a local coffee shop and had a marvelous time conversing on various topics (and imbibing too much caffeine) as the snow came down.
  • several friends and acquaintances visited the coffee shop where I work.
  • I talked for nearly forty minutes with some customer friends about poetry, the elderly, and the Vietnam war. He survived some of the worst parts of the war and writes poetry now to cope and help others through their trauma. It’s really great!
  • Speaking of Vietnam, a customer told a coworker and me that we are beautiful women in Vietnamese (but couldn’t tell us how to answer, thank you, as he forgot the phrase).
  • the sun finally came out on Friday morning, bringing me much cheer.
  • Daniel and I joined some friends for a game night. We played a fun interpretation game called Dixit, which includes whimsical surrealist paintings by Marie Cardouat.
  • I slowly continued to work through the book, Sexing the Body. It’s a good read despite its small print and daunting size.
  • Daniel and I had a heart to heart on my seeming embarrassment over not attending grad school. It was an emotional but necessary discussion on which I’ll reflect in a separate post.
  • my dad was interviewed on the radio about his new book, Working Would Be Great If It Weren’t for Managers.
  • my camera remote came in the mail, so now I can model vintage clothing for my store! I guess that’s this week’s project.

As always with these wrap-up posts, I feel immensely better after reading through my list. So much of my angst is due to an emotional funk rather than any real lack of progress or efficiency. Here’s to another good week!