Saturday, August 26, 2006

Entry #43

Saigon
by Jasmin Randick


I still smell it even after all these years. The stench. Rot hung like a curtain over the humid streets.

I hear myself again, “Hey G.I., I give you love. Best love you find!”

Nights I can’t sleep, I look at the city lights. Chicago took me in. I have family now. A place to lay my head. But the touch of my kid’s hand or the slide of a man’s palm can’t wipe the stain. Nor forgive the sins.

Saigon. Damn you!

Hot kisses on my breasts. Some of them boys still. Boys who needed. Boys who cried. They tried to forget in the creak of bedsprings and the rhythmic slap of our slick bodies in the dark. There were bruises. But yeah G.I., I always deserved them.

I told you I give good love. Best around.

Sometimes I’m a bird. The wind sweeps me back to the shores of Vietnam. I fly home again, really home, high over dark jungles; cast my shadow on swaying fronds, leafy banana trees. I skim rice paddies; sweat under a burning, Asian sun.

And when I reach Saigon, I finger the tattered curtains in my old room, hear the drum of monsoon rain and the lumber of hulking, green tanks in the crowded streets. I swill cheap whiskey to the angry red eye of a tracer searing the night. I feel a stranger’s tears wetting my back and become the cold moon riding above me.

I still remember. I don’t forget.

Saigon.

29 comments:

Bernita said...

Jason, you're going to have a really, really hard time selecting winners.

Joni said...

"Rot hung like a curtain over the humid streets." Fantastic.

This is beautiful, Jasmin. Every line drips with emotion.

I agree with Bernita.

Writing Blind said...

This is just so vivid, I love it. And I agree, I'm glad I'm not Jason. There's no way I could choose out of all these great stories.

klgilbert said...

Fascinating vignette. Reads like prose. Congrats on a good piece of writing!

anne frasier said...

this is stunning, jasmine.
wow.

beautiful
sweet
sad
evocative

anna said...

Jas, as always your words touch me. So vividly written I can feel the tears on my neck.
Beautifully done!

Southern Writer said...

Haunting.
Naked.
Poignant.

Jude said...

Some really effective moments here. Haunting- definitely.

Marcail said...

Love the word picture you've created.

Jaye Wells said...

Her pain is so beautiful.

"Sometimes I’m a bird. The wind sweeps me back to the shores of Vietnam. I fly home again, really home, high over dark jungles; cast my shadow on swaying fronds, leafy banana trees. I skim rice paddies; sweat under a burning, Asian sun."

You're like an artist painting with words. This is one of my favorites so far.

alcoholic poet said...

this is phenomenal. it was like remembering it, not reading it. the best i've read. here or anywhere.

bekbek said...

I can smell two cities, the jumble of two cultures and two... qualities of light. You make it really clear that this is not a case of "past, and future." She's continuing to live both lives in the present, unable to leave Saigon entirely behind.

robert rohloff said...

A very good story, in such few words. Very good

Linda Fort-Bolton said...

This is excellent writing. I agree that there are a lot of good entries.

Jim said...

It is not just the soldier boys who suffer the ravages of war.

nicholas abbot said...

Wow!

You've set the bar so high we're all going to need a pole vault!

Kingfisher said...

It's damn hard to sketch a character in 250 words, but you succeeded. Admirable and enviable.

I might have left off the last word, ending with "I don't forget." The title says what is left unfinished. Just a thought.

Thanks for a great read.

R. W. Randall

Shadowrite said...

Thanks for the supportive and wonderful comments made to "Saigon." It's awesome to have found such a great writing community here on Jason's blog and a superior contest with such outstanding writing! I feel priveleged to be among some of the best writers on the web.

Bernita, Joni, Writing Blind and KLGilbert, your words of encouragement are appreciated and I agree, the writing in this contest is excellent!

Anne, thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Anna, as always, thank you. Your support whatever I write is truly appreciated.

Southern Writer, Jude, Marcail, JayeWells, Alchoholic Poet -- thanks for reading and responding so eloquently.

Bekbek, Robert Rohloff, Linda, Jim, Nicholas -- your responses are so encouraging. Thank you.

Kingfisher, your comments and critique are truly valuable and much appreciated.

Scott said...

You had me from the very beginning and didn't let go. This just pulled at me. What else can I say?

RichMcD said...

I love a great read. And I love this:
"And when I reach Saigon, I finger the tattered curtains in my old room, hear the drum of monsoon rain and the lumber of hulking, green tanks in the crowded streets."

Wonderful.

Bhaswati said...

In the span of 250 words, you took me to Vietnam, brought me back to Chicago, made me feel the undying sorrow of the narrator, and entertained me with a brilliant wordsong. I am truly stunned. Thanks for sharing this. :)

Flood said...

I wish I could do something more than echo the comments, but I really liked this story. It's touching and melancholy and you've done a great job.

briliantdonkey said...

I wish I could do more than echo Flood's echoing of the comments lol
Excellent job with this story. As several said, quite vivid and superb descriptions as well. Thanks for the read.

BD

cesarcarlos said...

Beatiful post, Jasmin. This is so moving. The internalization is excellent.

Shadowrite said...

Thanks to all who read and responded. You're all an amazing group of writers!

Suzanne Smith Karg said...

Congratulations on your well-deserved win!

Nicky said...

Jasmin, this is an utterly stunning story, full of memory, sorrow and poignancy. You spoke volumes in a few words. Brilliant. And contratulations!

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful, sad story, Jasmin. Thank you for telling it.

jason evans said...

I was captivated by the description of flight and returning. Such a skill there. Astounding. High marks overall.

Congratulations on Fifth Place!!