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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Dateline: Downtown

Dateline: Downtown
Dateline: Downtown

I found a curious thing recently. It’s a wire bound book of sketches in verse. The author, “Tom”, translated lives encountered on a Greyhound bus trip across the country into poetry. It involves all manner of people: an ex-Marine who has become something of a pacifist and his son who has just entered the Corps, a real-estate salesman, a fugitive from justice, and others.Here and there I’ll reprint these little stories when the whim arises. Permission, I don’t think, is necessary. At the end of the little book, a note said: “To he or she who finds this bookOf tales, I beg thee, take a look.You need not think yourself a crook-Just print them.If by lamp or candlelightA chord is struck by what I write,I grant you every needed rightTo print them.Would you but grant to me this favorI’ll pray to God, our holy SaviorTo salve your wounds, so your day’s savoredShould you but put my words to paper.Do not wander, do not waver-I’ll keep quiet of our caperIf you please-But print them!” So think of this as the fulfillment of Tom’s wishes. I’ll begin with the story of the Marine, and by the by follow up with that of his son. The first of Tom’s tales is called “A Marine’s Story.”I was born in ’42In Dayton town, in Ohi-yoo.My old man bled red, white, and blueAnd helped bring Hitler’s Waterloo. When he came back home on leaveHe met my mother at a danceLater that night they conceived,And I sprang from that circumstance. On the Rhine Dad fought and bledAnd more than once was left for deadFrom the Panzer tanks he fled-Once, they caught him, it was said. Mother, who could never marryRaised me swift and strong.To Arlington, the CemeteryShe took me once and I belonged Amid those fighting men, I knewAnd as I sit here I tell youThat Providence and Uncle SamBade me (so I thought) to ‘Nam. The less said ’bout that time, the better(The justness of the war, I had no doubt of)I followed orders to the letterAnd did some things that I was proud of. The peaceniks, fellow travelersI felt, those flag unravellers,Took a back seat to the hawks.But either way, that’s idle talk: I struck a realization andIt’s personal to me.Something you can’t understand-I spied a thing no man should see. I’ll spare the details of the bombs,Agent Orange and napalm,But one phantom looms like terror dream-A Luciferian killing machine. It haunts my days, my nights. I can’t forget it.I can’t describe it; more than any words it swayedMe peace-wise (SDS get little credit).The specter of that beast looms, always, all ways. My son here ships to Baghdad soon,So off we go to Arlington.I’ll not dissuade him from a claimOf pride in the Eternal Flame. But what I’d felt no need to ponder,If Life’s not better saved than squanderedI’ll convey before he does head yonder-I pray he’s given so to wonder.Addenda: Two interesting events occur next Friday, April 19th. The first is UMass Boston’s third annual Take Back the Night at various campus locales including the Campus Center Ballroom, the Outdoor Quinn/Library Plaza, and the Harbor Point Clubhouse from 10 AM to 8 PM, when the conference will be adjourned with the night, presumably, taken back. Events include “Mentors in Violence Prevention – Men as allies”, a “Self-defense demonstration by Public Safety”, and a presentation by “Vagina Monologues” performers…Also is the Open Meeting of the Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Task Force Subcommittee on Student Life. Here is your chance to mirror Ice Cube in “Barbershop 2” and ask Chancellor Collins why Jesus wept, and to hold forth on or keep abreast of “organization and delivery of student life on campus, [and] the consideration of residence halls.” 2:30pm – 4:00pm in the Point Lounge of the Campus Center.

About the Contributor
Dan Roche served as opinions editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2006-2007; 2007-2008; 2008-2009