We Lost The War

Dear Jan and Aaron,

So, I’m standing here feeling sorry for myself, what with the pain and all, and so I doubled my dose of Gaba pain killers, the kind that stalk your nerves searching for messages to squash before the brain gets ahold of them.  Surprise, I’m getting very high.  If you don’t know about Gaba, you might check it out for pain.  Ask your doctor.  Anyway, when I was living on the border with the H’Mong, I’d take my little tape recorder and some extra batteries up to the hut where I smoked opium with my translator’s grandfather.  (Gao Vue was the translator who stepped on a landmine.  I told you about him, I think.)  Anyway, the grandfather was a classic old man with a good view out his door and a nice little fire.  If someone needed an extra in a zombie movie, the grandfather would surely get the part.  Strings of flesh and skin dangled from bones and he could walk and talk and prepare my pipe.  When we got going, I’d put on Night Fly by Donald Fagan.  Every time I hear these songs, I think about that hut and women down in Bangkok and over in Pua and I was with a nurse that I had been living with off and on for a few years.  She was working in the camp hospital.  She was in love with an Australian doctor and they would fuck on the side, but I didn’t mind.  I was surrounded by beautiful woman and I was living in a different mind frame and for fun I’d walk around the hospital and the opium ward late at night and sit there listening to people breathe and toss and turn and I’d think about how all of this was going to translate into my world view.   It was tough sitting beside kids who had had it and then Miles, the functioning addict, would call me into the office and we’d drink tea and talk about life. He was genuine and nice. He’d had some sort of trouble in England.  Night Fly makes me think of all of that and I thought you might find it interesting.  These are some of the songs that combined with the images dancing around in the hut and my mind was warm and I really didn’t need anyone or anything during those days.  It is all gone now, but I had my chance.   Best of luck in your new life.  Duke   PS Won’t you pour me a Cuban Breeze, Gretchen?


3 thoughts on “We Lost The War

  1. I guess we all have places we return to again and again. Like me and the Greyhound bus station. The song reminds me of the middle of the night when you can’t sleep and crazy ideas go through your head. If I were to write your bio – this is the piece I would start with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the early 80’s I worked at a Boulder electronics company with a group of H’Mong women. I liked their food, which they seemed compelled to share. I suppose they thought of me as this tall, blonde, polite boy who treated them with respect and who needed caretaking.
    I haven’t thought of them for 40 years.

    Liked by 1 person

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