Thursday, February 13, 2014

1967 was a wonderful year to be young and to be in Boston.
The Red Sox were in the middle of the "Impossible Dream" season, college students were everywhere, and my shipmates and I had six months of shore duty as we readied a brand new ship for Vietnam.
Those of us on my ship knew it would end in 1968 when we would find ourselves in the middle of the war.
I spent part of the summer with a lovely young woman who looked at the world with a naive sense of joy. She thought it was a world where you could dream and plan. I knew it was a world filled with infinite uncertainties.
We talked past each other for weeks. Finally, the conversations stopped as the war began to close in on me.
It was a time when, all over the country, people were travelling the same roads but crashing frequently as lives took sudden turns. The injuries bruised our bodies and minds, and sometimes our hearts.
Purple Hearts (In the Cat's Eye, 2009) is about the injuries that happened to many of us as the seedlings of war blew across the country.

Glenn K. Currie


Purple Hearts


 We lay in the summer,

Sheltered in tall grass.

Our resting place,

Not yet turned to straw.

She talked of futures,

In a world without one.

I watched a hawk circling above,

Seeking prey.

 

She was the sweet corn,

Picked fresh from the field,

Tasting of salt

And butter and sugar.

We passed the season

Pretending the winds

Would never grow colder,

 The days never older.

 

We didn’t really say goodbye.

We just stopped saying hello.

I sold my car in the fall,

And packed away my childhood,

Burying part of myself.

She phoned one day,

Just before I shipped out.

She called me a bastard.