Said Goodbye To Martinez

i am writing this
while
sitting
in an
air force shack
at
danang air base
waiting
on my flight
to a place
called
chu lai.

also waiting here
are
2 army guys
both
wounded
and
bandaged.

i suppose
they
are returning
to
their respective units
after
having
been
released
from
a hospital
somewhere
around here.

they
both have
a
certain look
about them
i've
not seen
before
and
i know
i must look
all
shiny and new
compared
to how
worn
and
tired
they
look.

there's
also
2 vietnamese
with 3 crates
containing
some chickens
and
2 pigs.

for some reason
i find this
somewhat
amusing.

anyway,
10 minutes ago
i said
goodbye
to
my friend
robert martinez
who
is
from
galveston, texas.

we became friends
while
going
through
staging
together
at
camp pendleton.

after
we left
pendleton
we hung together
on
okinawa
while
we
were
being
processed
for vietnam.

we don't expect
to see
each other
again.

so
we
just
shook hands
and
said
goodbye.

(1-09-1968)

by Kyle Schlicher

Comments (1)

A fascinating title. A fugue is an intricate contrapuntal musical form that Nemerov has compared to the complex interweaving of traffic. The original meaning of the word, 'fugue', is 'flight' which applies equally to the missions of the drivers.