Five Memories of Dick Nixon by Lennart Lundh

Five Memories of Dick Nixon


The 4th of July is near,
the day of independence.
Sensing this,
knowing this,
the President has declared that
he has decided once again
freedom is for all.
Sensing this,
knowing this,
the President has freed your sons from life,
your daughters from their minds.

The maimed and dying, too, are free,
except from pain.
Freedom has its price.


Do you know, then,
how a bomb works?

Have you seen, then,
what a bomb does?

What counts here has little to do with buildings
(haven’t we all seen the films of 1940 London?),
but deals instead with flesh:
              Its compression by shockwaves,
              its smell in flames and after,
              its penetration by hot metal shards.

If you have:
            How can you let it go on,
            endlessly repeated
            like an old horror move on TV?

And if you haven’t:
           Why are you so anxious for the lesson?


Dear Dick:

When we said you should take up a hobby,
like Ike, Jack, and Lyndon had done,
bombing our brothers from B-52s wasn’t
quite what we had in mind.

The Friends

When November came,
and with it the day of the vote,
you said you’d bring us peace,
and most forgot you’d said that
once or twice before.

When March came,
and with it the day of the bombs,
you said you would do it for peace,
and most forgot you’d said that
once or twice before.

Now late June has come,
and with it the hundred-twelfth day,
and you say it must go on for peace.
Who can forget the inherent horror
in your beautifully played pun?


Cambodian mother,
this is the Children’s Crusade:
The crusade against your child.
Though the targets are weapons,
and the grown men who bear them,
even a bomb mistakes now and then.
We saw this in I Corps,
we saw this in the North
(even then, nothing new).
We see it now in your Holy Land:
The Mekong, made sacred with his blood.


In the streets, I saw the people.
In the streets, I heard the people
chant their swelling prayer:
Four more years! Four more! Four!

In the fields, I see the people.
In the fields, I hear the people
scream their dying oaths.
in this your prayer is met.

But this is not the only land,
this bombstruck Asian place.
And this is not the only death,
this clawing at the flesh
(though perhaps,
for all concerned,
most merciful).
Another land is rotting,
and rot is such a slow death.
Some are fortunate,
and numbness comes quickly.
Some know less mercy;
and yet their prayers
will never seek it for their pains
but those of others.

“Five Memories of Dick Nixon,” written some 45 years ago, first appeared in Chaffey Review in 2013.

Lennart Lundh is a poet,short-fictionist, historian, and photographer. His work has appeared internationally since 1965. First appearances: The Language of Revolutions: So Careless of Themselves (Writing Knights Press) Later Evolutions: Pictures of An Other Day (Writing Knights Press) Mekong Delta Identity Blues as a Brief American Senryu Sequence: Spider Mirror Journal

3 Replies to “Five Memories of Dick Nixon by Lennart Lundh”

  1. Reading this has made me feel both heart achingly sad, and combustibly angry.
    This is what any work of art should do.
    Make you FEEL !
    Incredible writing.

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