Manus’s Poems

The Stream

Twenty- nine years later this stream ripples through me like a tsunami wave or a howling wind. It feels like my canoe is overturned. I am upside down with the weight of ten canoes filled with dead and wounded Marines on my shoulders pushing me straight down onto the water filled with blood and ghosts. Nobody said the stream would look and feel like this. There was the silence filled with the screams. There were the screams filled with beginnings, endings, pleads to God,” I am too young die”, “I want my mother”. Death curdling screams of terror were like bullets entering and tearing at my heart and soul. Little did I know that I’d carry them until I die.

I was twenty years old,baptized, initiated and cremated. It was shock, chaos and insanity. I felt hopeless, hopeless,overwhelmed with sadness, anger and pain. Mine and theirs. The sights and smells of blood and gunshot wounds, missing limbs and death was engulfing me like no fear I’ve ever known.

What to do? Run, cry scream, perform surgery ? Freeze in terror?
Add more bricks to the wall around my heart ?

Nobody talks we have to get the wounded out. We clear trees to make a landing zone for the helicopters. The dead we set up a perimeter around for the night.there is no campfire or hot dogs. Inside it’s shut down, closed off, put on the lock and forget the combination. I’m not going there. You don’t want to go there and I don’t want you to know I’ve been there. It’s all locked away.sights,sounds and feelings. My youth. The screams of the dying and the screams of my own dying.

Many years passed before I ever returned to the stream in my mind. Each visit brought peace and understanding and compassion and forgiveness for myself and others. I’m no longer overwhelmed by feelings or by fear.

I see the stream with a new vision. It’s now decorated with monuments to the living and the dead.I can see the fish and colorful rocks, trees, birds and reptiles. There is a tree swing. My canoe is filled with friends and family enjoying nature. I’m wearing my bathing suit or I’m naked carrying a paddle and not a gun.

MEDITATION POEMS

MEDITATING WITH A MOSQUITO.

CAN’T GET HIM OUT OF MY ROOM.

BUZZING AND FLYING HE KEEPS ME FROM MY CUSHION.

FINALLY I SURRENDER. I’M ON THE CUSHION. HE IS ON THE WALL UNDER GURU RIMPOCHE THANKA.

HE DOESN’T MOVE. I SIT CHECKING TO SEE IF HE IS PRACTICING.

HE HASN’T MOVED. I HAVE. MY EYES.MY MIND- IS HE STILL THERE. AS LONG AS HE IS ON WALL I AM SAFE.

MY NOW WAS CLOUDED BY THE FUTURE FLIGHT OF THE MOSQUITO.

THAT FUTURE LASTED AN HOUR AND A HALF. HE WAS STILL THERE.

FOLLOW ME

DON’T FOLLOW THT THOUGHT. YOU KNOW THE ONE I’M TALKING ABOUT. THE ONE YOU LOVE TO FOLLOW.

IT ALWAYS COMES TO YOU. IT LOVES TO TAKE YOU FOR A RIDE. ITS SUBTLE AND TANTALIZING.

IT PRETENDS IT DOESN’T CARE IF YOU FOLLOW OR NOT. IT WON’T LOOK BACK TO SEE IF YOU ARE THERE.

IT KNOWS. YOU JUST PERKED UP, THIS MUST HAVE SOME KIND OF MEANING THIS THOUGHT.

WHAT IS IT TRYING TO TELL ME. FOLLOW ME.

2 Responses to Manus’s Poems

  1. bavillano says:

    Manus,
    I can’t express how very proud of you I am. I was watching PBS tonight and saw your story. I had no idea!
    I wish you the very best and hope that this path you’ve chosen fulfills you. I know it helps so many others.
    God bless.
    I would love to hear back from you, if you have time.
    Barbara Villano

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