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Nobody Gets Off the Bus:
The Viet Nam Generation Big Book

Volume 5 Number 1-4
March 1994

Texts made available by the Sixties Project, are generally copyrighted by the Author or by Viet Nam Generation, Inc., all rights reserved. These texts may be used, printed, and archived in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright law. These texts may not be archived, printed, or redistributed in any form for a fee, without the consent of the copyright holder. This notice must accompany any redistribution of the text. A few of the texts we publish are in the public domain. For information on a specific text, contact Kalí Tal. The Sixties Project, sponsored by Viet Nam Generation Inc. and the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, is dedicated to using electronic resources to provide routes of collaboration and make available primary and secondary sources for researchers, students, teachers, writers and librarians interested in the 1960s.


Poetry by Stephen Hidalgo


The Threat of Force

(Bosnia, April 1993)

Not the time
to let yourself
be driven mad
by atrocities
you wanted
a peaceful world
do you think
this is all
you will see
there will be more
the children always
the children hurt most
in our gut
their torn limbs
in our eyes their tears
their restlessness
"attention deficit"--whose?
abandonment consumes
the mystery of being
a child

The sun wakes
on the new hills
the war dawn
again in new hearts
a generation of perplexity
as the angles
of corners that
have ceased to be
call new turnings
out of smoky sunlight
there should be a phrase
to sum up all
but there will not be
not tomorrow

Who has said
it must be this way
who has not said
it must be otherwise
it must be that
we have all said
how it must
but must not be

How this world is
a child we
will all leave
surrounded by echoes
of her mind's refusal
of echoes of gunfire
as she turns
to see another
born out of that yesterday
that will not be turned
into a past we can learn

When will the garden break out
after the sounds destruction makes
have flattened themselves against hills
under a darkening horizon just becoming
aware that there are and always have been
(hushed) stars and...

Good Night

"When will peace break out?"
The summer dusk of your television screen
clips the wit of a journalist.
We who remember Vietnam
hear with a difference "peace"
the word and inwardly some
barren hillswept terrain
grows white stumps
of defoliated trees the memory
of what once was rainforest.
We bombed for "Peace"
poisoned and starved,
mauled maimed mutilated
killed for "Peace."
Democrat and Republican
Johnson and Nixon
Adlai Stevenson and J. Edgar Hoover
told us we must fight for "Peace."
Not figuratively nor spiritually
morally diplomatically
culturally theoretically
verbally nor aesthetically.
Who believes we must kill for peace?
In his ears the sound of bombs
parables the growth of "civilization."
Who believes peace will "break out"?
The worm who eats his way through
the burial ground and is
afraid there really will be a light
at the end of the tunnel.

Stephen Hidalgo, English Department, University of Notre Dame

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