Fairy Godmother and the Princes in the DMZ


Feature Pic
Image: Tsugomori 「晦」by Gab Lopez, acrylic on wood, 2015

“They were exiting from the dugout where they had watched and listened (with whatever radio type listening devices we had then) for activity in the DMZ. All their devices had been destroyed by themselves to prepare to get the hell out ASAP but monsoon rains kept the choppers from landing sooner.” – Jan

For Mama Jan, when old wars become fairy tales


At the DMZ the two princes
had unwrapped their fingers
from the bottom bar of a helicopter
/ the last /
from South Vietnam to safety 

This was their / grand entrance / at the DMZ

Fairy Godmother watched
not their fingers / unwrapping
but their eyes as if soot
were their tears mingled
with sweet tainted air
leaving a powder / burning their skin
not with fire
but with ash 

She saw / through 
their eyes though their eyes 
hid / from her gaze 

White girl slender girl long-haired girl
Fairy Godmother with magic in her
youthful hands and delectable bikini body

but these boys had forgotten how
to consume a woman / too tired with dreams
of bullets and bombs and monsoons
and brown little brothers

who could’ve been / their brothers 

She tries to grant them
fairy wishes at / the R&R
not with pumpkins but with
BBQ hotdogs / pool / and dancing
of course dancing
but they refuse

Two black soldiers
of the United States Army
deliver us from evil 

and a knife at Fairy Godmother’s throat
as she caught them

red-handed for stolen hotdogs she couldn’t
/ just let go /

She waves her wand out of principle
tsk tsk for stolen hotdogs as they break
under their skin –
never considered equal on these wet fields
inhaling and exhaling toads and mosquitoes and
soldier souls
(mis)taken as gangstas
whose camouflage pants / tucked into their red socks
and their laces on their boots
a kind of order / to the disorder

Fairy Godmother knows / they do not fit in
like good ol’ army princes

even before the moment their knife is to her throat
as they were never part

of everyone –

Forty years later Fairy Godmother / breathes
them into life
her stories / a magic wand
waving even the jungle into being


with its musk and adrenaline and heroin
and tears and rain and insect chorus and
grand orchestra of grenades and gunfire

when no one otherwise would’ve known
the two princes at the DMZ.

All photos courtesy of Jan

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