Sunday, February 12, 2023

what are their names

We are drinking our beer and eating hotpot under the stars. The street looks vaguely familiar. We know we had never been here before. But we knew we had been there before.

photo by dimitrisvetsikas1969 at pixabay

what are their names

how many towns did we missed
some up in the hills?
What are their names?
these towns, these streets
that we passed through
like a whirlwind?
why do the children cheered
when our armored vehicles
stop at their shops?
because we pay in greenbacks
but the cities
the big ones
we know their names
because well,
and where we catch
our jetliners home

we don't care
how paddy grows,
this way
or that
why hogs roll in the mud
as we marched through
poor villages
rifles drawn
old grandmas look at us
with fire in their eyes
spooning plain porridge
into their mouths
home is a hut plastered
with red paper
with golden words asking
for blessings
everyone is glad
to be alive

I wondered how those kids
have grown
munching on giant fish balls
and wild boar meat.
how they will miss
our greenbacks

and I still do not know
some of their names.


We trace a line across the map and it leads us home...

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déjà Vu

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2023

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Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Hmmm, a thought-provoking piece. I know you were in the army once upon a time, but this sounds like you could be imagining any army, or all armies — at the same time as one individual soldier. Powerful and unsettling, in any case

12 February, 2023 05:09  
Blogger Jim said...

I am not for war even though I was in the U.S. Army five years. I spent it all in Texas, Basic Training at Ft. Hood and then the rest in Fort Bliss (El Paso). We were Air Defense so we weren't expecting to march much, for sure not through villages. Even then we didn't learn the locals' names unless it was through something organized, say a church or the kids' schools.
But it was fun hearing your writer make the passage.
Best wishes with the new PC, ours faltered also, this one is wonderfully rebuilt, a hand-me-down laptop from my son.

12 February, 2023 06:40  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you.
I was writing this from experiences when i was serving (that was a lomg time ago). There were a lot of towns and villages we went through without knowing their names.


Thank you.
We do have those events organised by the community or government agencies like building roads to rural areas, for example.

I think a pc can lasts at most 3 years before it needs some surgery. :)

12 February, 2023 11:17  
Blogger Priscilla King said...

Do they expect or want their names to be known?

17 February, 2023 03:05  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Priscilla.

No, maybe some of them do not like us to be there too. This was about a military exercise in a foreign land, and the names of some of the towns & villages are hard to remember.

17 February, 2023 22:12  
Blogger Rommy said...

The side characters in our stories are the heroes in their own tales. And yeah, it can be very unsettling to think about the parts they cast us in their own narrative. The image of grandmothers with fiery eyes is going to stick with me.

18 February, 2023 21:10  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Rommy.

yes, they do not like us trampling through their villages.

18 February, 2023 22:05  

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