The Vietnam Effect | Poem by Jennifer Schoch

Vietnam Effect Vietnam poem

The Vietnam Effect
by Jennifer Schoch

The aroma of lilac drew me
away from my son
quiet as a crystal bowl in his stroller,
the early curious mosquitos almost kept us home.
Am I able to appreciate
this lilac,
her symmetrical perfection, without conjuring your pain?
I am fearful of this flower
I am panicked by her swift impermanence,
of my inability to hold her comforting fragrance
for those mostly marshmallowed mugs of hot chocolate days,
sequestered from the dirty New Jersey snow
where the radiators’ imbalance
from room to room
would make you yell when we opened the windows just a crack
“Goddamn waste of money!”
And the belts sang in their choir on the back of the closet door,
because the boys were fighting over remote controls again
And then, after my downward gaze had watched your darkness dissipate into the cracks
between the hardwood floors,
You would read me Shakespeare:
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Is this
why I ran away?
To places where there are no seasons
to the endless
summer days,
where flowers never seem to die.
Your toes were stained with cigarette ash the last time I kissed you goodbye.
Did I
even kiss you?
You hadn’t showered for weeks
and I was scared.
Scared of your skin
scared of your scents
scared of my
The blue of your eyes was bright
against the rivers of bloodshot.
Mom says your eyes were green
It’s like she never knew you.

Sad and lonely, you asked me to stay
“Live here.”
You said.
“I hate LA.”
Like my brothers also bound to plastic liters?
They were small like my boy,
like you were once.
I am fearful in the face of this flower and her reminders.
Your grandson screams now like a broken dish
I wonder if you are there
silently crying
out into the black jungle for God to spare you
for your mother
for a future with mom
for a future with me
with a grandson you will never meet.
How could you have known this jungle
it would never leave?
Dying on the old hardwood floor in May
did you make it to the yard that Spring?
The worst death you died is not your final fall
it is the tree outside our window
cowering with dainty, dusty stars
you could not notice.
Did you glance outside that morning
and think to tell me of the lilacs that had bloomed?
Was your fall swift?
A small, unopened purple “bud of May”
gently shaken free?
The pain you healed, my father,
by noticing the lilacs
reading Shakespeare in Irish accents.
The unfolding damage it has caused,
in the tiniest creations
this unreconciled war from long ago.

Jennifer Schoch is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California where she received a master’s degree in Social Work. She is currently staying home with her young son while contributing as a writer for a book on social work and the arts. She has written, performed and directed for the screen and stage.

The Vietnam Effect Copyright 2021 by Jennifer Schoch. All Rights Reserved.

My Birthday Wish | Poem by David Michael Jackson


My birthday wish poem,
dropped into a box,
like a vote waiting to be counted,
a wish,
to just get along,
to notice the clouds in the night sky,
and see things the darkness between them,
to play games with children,
and give them an extra kick, another shot,
and let them be a ringer,
“That kid’s got it!”,
a wish to make that snapshot,
that one image captured,
for a lifetime
left in the mind to see again and wonder.

A perfect wish
left in a box of words

…David Michael Jackson

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Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, ‘Spell Casting’

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Harry Bertoia

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Is this poem a dog or a rose?

Is this poem a dog or a rose?
The periods are lined up like stars.
Arms draped over a hip
with sunlight peeking through.
softly spoken,
like a whispering windy day,
full of sun
and maybe a thunderstorm
in the afternoon.
Is this poem found
nodding in the armchair
under the papers in the lap
or beside the bed
or under the house in the dark corner?
Is this poem in the curtain
in the hall or
on the mantle beside the pictures
of people standing in front
of old cars?

If Greatness Were To Call | Poem

man of questions painting

If greatness were to call
would they get an answer
from an old man on an acre
in a place called Tennessee

If greatness were to call
would it scroll by
leading me to an
ad at the end
with vacancies at the inn
and people sleeping in
the street

If greatness were to call
would it be so great
as to wish that
they wouldn’t look at me
as I pass to
get my reward in the gallery,
in the bookstore
with smiling faces, smiling

kick my bones and tell them
that they are great bones
The best we can do is dust
from which may grow a flower.

David Michael Jackson…..from a cave surrounded by crazed Neanderthals in a pandemic.

Dreams of David Michael Jackson

Pollockary by David Michael Jackson