I’ve been shooting the bull the past several weeks with JhanaJian, of whom I thought was this “Asian guy” from Vietnam.
Turns out I was wrong. Dead wrong about everything I thought I knew about JhanaJian.
And now, I’m wondering if that is what life is really all about. Illusions of what our senses and pre-conceived notions tell us we want to believe, and/or what we have been conditioned to believe.
You see, I assumed that JhanaJian lived in Southeast Asia, particularly with the type of hat I saw from a “mugshot” at the blog site, Walking in the Mountains. You know, that thing WordPress calls a “gravatar” like the one of the garrulous Greek — me — shown above. JhanaJian was wearing the type of hat I remember many farmers wore in Vietnam. I even have pictures of a “mama-son” I met some 50 miles outside of Saigon who wore similar headgear. The pictures, stored away in a scrapbook, were taken when I was in the US Army and on a break from “humping” the boondocks with my infantry platoon..
I assumed the “mountains” that JhanaJian wrote about were of Asian origin, possibly from a homeland. Turns out JhanaJian resides no where near Southeast Asia, or even at some romantic place like the Himalayas in northern India.
JhanaJian lives right here in America.
And, JhanaJian ain’t even Asian. Would you believe a person with the name of JhanaJian was actually of northern European descent? Now, I ask you, take a good look at the mug shot, particularly at a post like Saigon lady serves up smile & forgiveness.
Scrawl down to the comment by JhanaJian. The words are insightful, touching and very moving, leaving me to believe that I have met a “soul buddy,” a guy that might understand the guilt and the grief many of us veterans feel about war and a nation trying to dominate another people, another race.
I felt I could “tell it like it is” to this JhanaJian, maybe even share stories about the Saigon nights and that beautiful, doll-like woman who took me to paradise in a small, cramped bedroom cordoned off by sheets hanging from ceiling to floor to allow four separate GIs — in the same room — to make love between hits of highly charged “smokes,” climaxing with the best sex I have ever had in my life. Was it because neither spoke the other’s language, or that I was facing possible death in the “field” the next day? She gave to me her Self that wonderful Saigon night, and dozens of years later, I am still “grateful.“
So, what’s that got to do with my feelings toward this JhanaJian.
I can’t share that story now. It has nothing to do with trust or any “disillusions” I might have developed with a person I recently only “met” through the Internet. You see, I don’t think JhanaJian would truly understand how a man feels away from home for the first time, not knowing if he would be alive the next day, the next week. Not knowing if he would ever be the same as he was before becoming a “man.”
Before giving up his last bit of youth, his last connection to . . . I don’t know, maybe still feeling like a “kid.’ You gotta grow up real quick when you find your Self leading men in combat at the ripe old age of 21.
JhanaJian. Thanks for telling me I made a mistake when I called you “my man.” I hope you don’t mind me sharing with others the rest of the story . . .
Please see Part II, by clicking this hyperlink:
Gender ‘illusion’ fools a macho man
Michael the one that wrote these lyrics might understand a bit. . .
Through A Glass Darkly
(David Olney/Bug Music-David Olney Songs)
The strange young man who comes to me
A soldier on a three day spree
Who needs one night’s cheap ecstacy
And a woman’s arms to hold him
He greets me with a courtly bow
He hides his pain by acting proud
And he drinks too much and laughs too loud
How can I deny him
Let us dance beneath the moon
I’ll sing to you “Claire de Lune”
The morning always comes too soon
But tonight the war is over
He speaks to me in schoolboy French
Of a soldier’s life inside a trench
The look of death, the ghastly stench
I do my best to please him
He puts two roses in a vase
Two roses sadly out of place
Like the gallant smile on his haggard face
Playfully I tease him
Hold me ‘neath the Paris sky
Let’s not talk of how or why
Tomorrow’s soon enough to die
But tonight the war is over
We make love too hard, too fast
He falls asleep, his face a mask
He wakes with the shakes and drinks from his flask
I put my arms around him
They die in the trenches, they die in the air
In Belgium and France, the dead are everywhere
They die so fast there’s no time to prepare
A decent grave to surround them
Old World glory, Old World fame
The Old World’s gone, gone up in flames
Nothing will ever be the same
And nothing lasts forever
I’d pray for him but I’ve forgotten how
And there’s nothing, nothing that can save him now
But there’s always another with the same funny bow
And who am I to deny them
Tonight the war is over
Below is a version by Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris – 1917:
I was never alone, was I?
Someone was with me. Someone knew enough about life . . and death to bring two bodies together. From the start of time, when a yong man was called to defend something, something that some other felt important enough for another to die for. . .
She was there. She knew. She gave Herself. No, she elevated love to a level that was divine. Giving of one self so that another could escape war even for one night.
I can’t stop the tears. I cry whole-heartedly now, letting my weakness show as I sob and wretch like a little old lady at the funeral of someone near and dear to her.
It started at the end. The end of this poem by some One who must have known what real war was about. The story evolved, the words took on their own life, and soon the most beautiful young woman I have ever known took control and comforted me, the soldier who bragged to all of his courage, or at least put on that mask day in and day out, unable to let it down for a second because other men depended on his stocism. His strength. His hell that he faces on the front lines, in the trenches, in the “bush.”
How many poets, story-tellers, epic-writers like Homer does humanity need to see the futility of war. The destruction of pieces of young men, and young women?
Hard to stop myself. To get “control” of emotions I forgot I still had.
But I thank you for this. My men thank you for this understanding and the offer your women made for the boys in A Platoon, C Company.
Former Lt michael j,
a snot-nosed sombitch kid once again.
Wow! Michael i was just going to add a You Tube link i did not know it would actually download it. . .please if you do not want it on your blog just delete it. Sorry! But that is a neat feature and it loaded so fast!
I’ll give it a “shot.”
I think I like you just the way you are.
Now,let me tell you about the wonderful woman I met in Panama City who knocked my socks off while spending the afternoon together outside the Jungle training school . . . (to be con’td . . .over a couple of shots and beers.)
Braggart! Is that “telling it like it is”? That’s locker-room stuff. I had more of a human interest theme in mind. Sorry, my mistake. No, you can’t “tell it like it is” to me. Yuk.
You’re right, Michael. I can’t know what your experiences feel like any more than you can know what my experiences feel like. We can’t ‘really’ know, but we can know to some extent if we share those experiences and feelings with each other in the telling.
I almost feel like apologizing for not being the “my man” that you expected me to be. Sure there’s a special comradery between men because they share much of the same stuff. There is between women as well. But Michael, you and I do still have something very important in common–we’re both human.
So, so what if I’m not “my man.” I assure you I can still appreciate “the Saigon nights and that beautiful, doll-like woman” who took you to paradise. It’s amazing how war and potential death heighten the senses. The mundane everyday life must pale in comparison. Those war experiences, grief and hardship aside, must be some of the most exciting and stimulating experiences of one’s life.
So, can you still “tell it like it is” even though I’m not who you thought I was? Give it a shot, Michael, you might be surprised.