national boomerang
bravo whiskey
if I were in Vietnam
my kill

declaimed poetry

distant lover
my father reading marx for the first time

first in - last out





Transcript, comprised of excerpts of my father's letters back home, read by my mother:

July 30 1968

Dear Karen,

Well, it came faster than I thought. We are going on a two day operation sweetie. I am really nervous and scared. I hope you are always praying fro me. I need all the prayers that you can say honey. Sweetie, I need you like a baby needs his mother. Karen, never forget that you hear. I love you so much honey. Promise me that you will wear my dog tags. I want everybody to know that you are mine and no one else's. I hope you know I try to write to you everyday.

Well honey they told me how Vietnam was going to be but I always said to myself it could not be like they all say it is. Sweetie I would work for no money if I could have you right by me everyday. Please pray for me down here. It is really getting bad. I guess everywhere the 1st Marines go there is always a lot for us to do. Sweetie tell you dad and mom I said hello and tell your sisters I said hello too. I hope they are doing better than me here.

I hate the Marines. The Marines are not as big as you think they are doll, they are all mouth. Honey, who do you think is winning this war here. It's guys like us. I just don't know what I am fighting for. I know one thing, I am fighting for my life here and that is all. Honey I would give anything if I could just walk down the street with you and with no shooting going on and where the sun is always shining everyday. I am writing to tell you I hate it here more each day that goes by. I don't think it is right for us to help these people. Down here you got to watch everybody. The VC hit us from three sides today. Three guys got killed out here. I am so homesick right now I just look around the field in a daze. Sweetie I know when I get home to you I don't think I will get too much sleep dreaming about all that happens in Nam. When we get married help me quiet down and not be so nervous. I saw too much war. I want to go home and never shoot a gun again. I don't think I am going to be the same when I get home thinking of all the guys who got killed here.

I am trying to write as much as I can. Sweetie, if I don’t write to you, I am out in Dodge City and this big fat captain will not let me write to you. How are your dad and mom doing? I hope they are doing fine. Tell your sisters I said hello and I hope they are doing fine. Please send me some food and two T-shirts, size 34-38, and write everyday for me. Promise me. I got to close because there is a lot of shooting going on and I think it is the VC here going south. Well sweetie I got to go back out into the field. If I don't write to you please don't get mad at me. God bless you and keep you mine forever.

Love your Marine,
Joe.

First In - Last Out, 2007, video, 9:43