“(Post) Pre-Traumatic Stress (Dis) Order” Tanka 556

The more words you use

to name a thing, the further

you get from The thing!


Shell-Shock and Battle Fatigue,

Like Booby Trap – said too much!*


  • (I like ‘Worn Out’ but Tom Lea’s Combat Artist painting of a young Marine rifleman during The Battle of Pelileu (sp?) in The Palu Islands off The Philippines during World War II shows this young man grown old more movingly than any photograph or words ever could depict.  I think the painting’s title was “The Thousand Yard Stare,” though it easily could have been “The Ten-Thousand-Yard  Stare.”  I saw a similar such stare in the Polaroid I was handed just after the 1st Marine Division’s Assistant Division Commander, a Brigadier General, pinned a Purple Heart Medal to my blue Air Force hospital robe maybe twelve hours after I had been wounded.  More like A Hundred-Yard Stare.  The General suggested I send it back home “free” franked on my envelope to my mother.  What a dope!  A hundred-thirty-three pound son who used to be 178 at least with shrapnel scars across his face – to his mother? And at the time I did not know there were several Western Union telegrams stuck in the doorway’s screen door outer shell announcing I had been KIA and then MIA, presumed either KIA, WIA or worse (?) because no one was home.  Yeah. Right!  I never showed it to mom until years later and still cried.  Wished I could.)

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