12-12-2019  11:11 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
Boy Scout Christian Alize leads Cub and Boy Scouts of Troop 484 and 584 in carrying a large American flag as they participate in the city of Miami Lakes, Fla., Veterans Day Parade as veterans, Star Wars characters, cars, cheerleaders, school bands, flags, scouts, and others all paraded in honor veterans on Sunday, November 10, 2019.
By The Skanner News
Published: 11 November 2019

On this Veterans Day, the staff at The Skanner News honors all who have served and continue to serve in our nation's armed forces.

Facing It by Yusef Komunyakaa

My Black face fades,   
hiding inside the black granite.   
I said I wouldn't  
dammit: No tears.   
I'm stone. I'm flesh.   
My clouded reflection eyes me  
like a bird of prey, the profile of night   
slanted against morning. I turn   
this way—the stone lets me go.   
I turn that way—I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light   
to make a difference.   
I go down the 58,022 names,   
half-expecting to find   
my own in letters like smoke.   
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;   
I see the booby trap's white flash.   
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse   
but when she walks away   
the names stay on the wall.   
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's   
wings cutting across my stare.   
The sky. A plane in the sky.   
A white vet's image floats   
closer to me, then his pale eyes   
look through mine. I'm a window.   
He's lost his right arm   
inside the stone. In the black mirror   
a woman’s trying to erase names:   
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

 

yusef komunyakaa introYusef Komunyakaa was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The son of a carpenter, Komunyakaa has said that he was first alerted to the power of language through his grandparents, who were church people: “the sound of the Old Testament informed the cadences of their speech,” Komunyakaa has stated. “It was my first introduction to poetry.” Komunyakaa went on to serve in the Vietnam War as a correspondent; he was managing editor of the Southern Cross during the war, for which he received a Bronze Star.

Yusef Komunyakaa, “Facing It” from Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Source: Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001)

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

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