Re: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Sargent,_John_Singer_(RA)_-_Gassed_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
“Do you believe in ghosts?” The child looks at me for truth. I can speak to the fears, but not to the question, for I know some ghosts too well. I see them emerge from behind parked cars.
Whole families follow me from tunnels of Vinh Moc. They call to me at night from free-fire zones, stranded on jungled beaches, from faces I never saw. Their shadows reach for me from stretchers and drip bags, and piles of too-late bandages.
Prescribed rituals and beliefs, incense burnings and magic spells: all hollow songs against darkness
Re: https://www.switheart.org/my-photo-albums/the-mash- years/ Web page photo #1
A chance to finally tell Loretta Swit. After a local stage production she was receiving visitors and I went. For me, she’d always be Margaret Hoolihan, rough edged Florence Nightingale in the 8055th MASH unit playing across from Hawkeye Pierce. I stood in line to tell her just how much the program meant to me, and my decades of attempts to make it better inside. To thank her and the angelic nurses she’d come to represent, the ones who held my hand on that long medevac flight home. Margaret hugged the guy before me, and I could see his shoulders tremble. I knew that once I looked into her eyes, those words would never come.
Re: Avatar, 1916 by Henry Lintott https://wsimag.com/scottish-national-portrait-gallery/artworks/ 49916
I can’t believe my eyes. On my computer screen is a well appointed virtual sales room with stylish furniture highlighting a painting, designed to show me how well it would underscore the elegance of my home. The painting is Avatar, by Henry Lintott, painted in 1916. Four angelic figures bear upward the body of a soldier struck down in the Great War. It is said that the painting brought great peace to British poet and infantryman Wilfred Owens who came to visit it often in 1918 during his recuperation from battle shock in Craiglockhart hospital nearby. This was just before he was declared healed, and sent back to the front. Owen was killed in the trenches, one week before Armistice was declared. I think of Marines, dying in the Vietnamese mud, dying before me on my own evacuation flight, dying later in the VA hospitals, and sometimes later still, dying at home by their own hand.
A former teacher and crisis/trauma consultant, Dr. Kendall Johnson’s stories and poems have appeared in such publications as MacQueen’s Quinterly, Tears in the Fence, and Litro, and his books include Chaos & Ash (Pelekinesis) and Black Box Poetics (Bamboo Dart Press). He is contributing editor to the Journal of Radical Wonder. Check out layeredmeaning.com. Dr. Johnson consulted with Ukraine disaster officials following independence, and served combat duty in Vietnam with the US Navy.