Bland On Bland – Jet

blndonblandpoem-featuredThe theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method poem is “Jet“.

This story is about a man I met in Hanoi, I stupidly jumped on one of those little scooters zooming through Hanoi traffic. Its amazing how bonding life and death experiences can be.

I ended up having a few beers with him and here is the story he related

No Ed this week – get well soon mate

To play this poem directly in your browser – just click the “play” button below:


“My earliest memory is the sound of jets and sirens.

I was four years of age living with my parents and two brothers in the Kham Tien (Cam Vee-en-jarm) area of Hanoi.

I thought it was a thunderstorm approaching, until my mother wrapped me and my brothers in blankets and we sheltered under the staircase.

I remember the noise from the street; the panic, the shouting, the smoke, the smell.

Most, I remember the building shaking, like an earthquake.
It is the night I discovered fear.

My auntie and a cousin were killed days later in a raid a few kilometers to the west.

Not far from where we lived, the remains of a B-52 bomber still protrude from a small lake, where they fell in 1972.

Some tourists find it distasteful that we would leave them on display, however to me it is a reminder of victory over those who would do us harm and victory over fear.

Even today, when I hear a jet overhead, it triggers not images or memories, but a feeling I cannot put into words.

Do we still resent America and its allies for what you call the Vietnam war?
That is a very western question.

If the river rises and floods my house do I refuse to drink water?
If a buffalo kicks me do I refuse my children its milk?

We have known many wars, but those who keep count of old enemies have no time for new friends.

My father fought against the French and the Americans.
My uncle the Chinese and Khmer Rouge.

Now we fight to put food in our bellies and create the best possible lives for our families.

I travel four hours each day from my wife’s village to work in the city because I can make a better living.

Tourists bring money.
Money feeds, clothes and shelters.

Resentment is not a luxury we can afford.

The past teaches and the future promises but you can’t eat last year’s fish or the chicken yet to be born.

There is only the present.”

© Copyright 2016 Ian Bland

Also have a listen to the songs on “Angel In Reverse

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