Breaking news

By Art Elser


I step into a cacophony of city sounds

as people rush to catch the evening news.

Then, they fade below some threshold

as my ear selects the swoosh

of rotor blades, the whine of a turbine jet.

Glinting steel and glass play with the sounds.

I search the sky, not knowing where to look.


Memory plays with them too,

taking me back some thirty years.

I hear the first of two Jolly Greens,

rescue choppers, lifting off from DaNang.

I wait to hear the second and the roar

of fighter escorts as they race to find

some luckless pilot just shot down.


Two nights ago I scanned a list, forward air controllers

killed in Vietnam—two hundred eighteen of them.

We flew the same planes and missions.

Dave Brenner—I woke him at six thirty

so he could fly to his death.

Hal Halbower, my classmate,

shot down by his own artillery.

Lankford, Sellers, Budka, killed

during the sixty-seven Christmas truce

Sam Deichelmann, the flamboyant one,

who went to fly the secret war in Laos

and died over the even-more-secret jungle.

John Egger, the aging major, who wanted to know

what it was like to be shot at.

He died up north finding out.


The Jolly Greens head out to rescue them.

I almost shout, Too late!  Too Late!

Then I see a TV-news chopper flying out

to report a fire, a holdup, or traffic.


I struggle back those years.


My feet walk a Denver street,

my memories, the flight line at DaNang.

Categories: Issue 3, Vietnam | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: