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Donald Revell
Donald Revell
Born in the Bronx in 1954, Donald Revell is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including My Mojave ...
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Vietnam Epic Treatment

 
by Donald Revell

It doesn't matter
A damn what's playing—
In the dead of winter
You go, days of 1978 -
79, and we went
Because the soldiers were beautiful
And doomed as Asian jungles
Kept afire Christ-like
In the hopeless war
I did not go to in the end
Because it ended.

The 20th-century?
It was a war
Between peasants on the one side,
Hallucinations on the other.
A peasant is a fire that burns
But is not consumed.
His movie never ends.
It will be beautiful
Every winter of our lives, my love,
As Christ crushes fire into his wounds
And the wounds are a jungle.
Equally, no matter when their movies end,
Hallucinations destroy the destroyers.
That's all.
There has never been a President of the United States.

And the 21st-century?
Hallucination vs. hallucination
In cold battle, in dubious battle,
No battle at all because the peasants
Have gone away far
Into the lost traveler's dream,
Into a passage from Homer,
A woodcutter's hillside
Peacetime superstition movie.
On a cold night, Hector.
On a cold night, Achilles.
Around the savage and the maniac
The woodcutter draws a ring of fire.
It burns all winter long.
He never tires of it
And for good reason:
Every face of the flames is doomed and beautiful;
Every spark that shoots out into the freezing air
Is God's truth
Given us all over again
In the bitter weather of men's
Hallucinations. There has never been
A President of the United States.
There has never been a just war.
There has never been any life
Beyond this circle of firelight
Until now if now is no dream but an Asia.






From Pennyweight Windows: New & Selected Poems, Alice James Books, 2005. Used with permission.
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