SOME OF THE BEST
2 September, 1998
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Photo by Dan Chapman ©2001
Stanyan Entertainment Group
A Thought for Today
We cannot presume the fatherhood of God without
assuming the brotherhood of man.
What follows is some pretty early McKuen writing. It dates back nearly half a century. Whew!
SOLDIERS FROM ANOTHER WAR
Soldiers from another war, memories of another time when a dime was a dime and love was something G.I's only read about: He leans against the bar and sings fantastic songs. The Marine named Carl, a long way from home and lonely like the rest of us. His brown eyes seek out the friendly ones and he sings to them. While the high hipped girl in the corner cries because she canít understand the language. All this for a glass of beer and anyone will tell you itís worth it.
Some soldiers fight their daily battles, not in body but in mind: Private Spence has a problem. His eyes are lonelier than most. And people misinterpret his looks. I saw a big woman follow him home once when that wasnít what he wanted at all.
Soldiering is more than coming through the trenches still intact, it's threading minefields still unmined: She struggled over chocolate cake, toying with an unfamiliar fork. Looking into the lieutenantís eyes, who but an hour ago, was only another stranger. Under the cruel light her pale green dress and yellow beads seem a little out of place. And as her fingers fumbled with the fork, she now and then would try to smile. The lieutenantís eyes were cold. Devouring her as she devoured chocolate cake. In another place, another war ago, it had been the same. A walk through the rain to a small cafe, with another girl, who never got to know his name.
Some soldiers come from long lines of soldiers. Soldiering runs in the family. Some become soldiers to run from the family: Lieutenant Paul Smith, Marine. Son of a Boston lawyer. His mother played bridge in Westchester County. This is his first night on the Ginza. He dances well. His Japanese girl comes to his chin. And they move with easy motion on the dance floor. The motions will be quicker after dark. Everything is okay. The moth chases the flame. The bees still pollinate. The grass is green on spring mountains. The haze of the evening is soft blue. And Lieutenant Paul Smith waltzes endlessly, with an Oriental head against his shoulder.
Soldiers from another war, memories of another time when a dime was a dime and love was something G.I's only read about: Long before we decided the fate of that retched woman at the Prince Hotel and laughed into the night, conjuring ways to upset her. I had thought of the possibility of falling in love with you. Even after I knew there were others. I was determined not to. Not at this time. Not when I was going home. Knowing there was anybody else who loved you. But as it happened, you turned to me in bed, and smiled. And we were very warm.
- Written in Taegu, Korea, 1954. Some of this material was used in the album "Time of Desire", 1957. With new material, 1998.
Tomorrow some news on a brand new album. Sleep warm.
- RM 07/01/01
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