"Today freedom-loving people . . . must say, 'I am a Jew in a world still threatened by anti-Semitism. I'm an Afghan, and I'm a prisoner of the gulag. I'm a refugee in a crowded boat foundering off the coast of Vietnam. I'm a Laotian, a Cambodian, a Cuban, and a Miskito Indian in Nicaragua. I, too, am a . . . victim of totalitarianism.'" 

--President Ronald Reagan, May 1985

 

The Gobbledygook of Hanoi Hoa Lo

America is like a garden
She collects wild flowers
Their names are Latin, French, Greek
And rarely it comes from Vietnam
Like the gobbledygook of Hoa Lo.

She found herself bleeding
Her sons were killed nearby the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Her embassy in Saigon was maimed on Tet 1968
American POWs were tortured at the Hanoi Hilton
It's the gobbledygook of Hoa Lo.

She feels chills run down her spine
Hoa Lo means "charcoal burning kiln"
The Hanoi Politburo's jargon
Lecturing her fallen soldiers to death
It's the gobbledygook of Hoa Lo.

The bamboo cage kept the scrawny American
Submerged in the snake-infested pond
His head stayed above the water
Answering the Viet Cong interrogator's whips
It's the gobbledygook of Hoa Lo.

The Communist Vietnamese marched the POWs
In the streets of Hanoi
The propaganda machine was in gear
Americans were seen being pushed like cattle
It's the gobbledygook of Hoa Lo.

A quarter of a century after the Vietnam War
The American jet pilot war prisoner
Still bears his nightmares from the Hanoi Hilton
He burst out the last syllable of the VC gobbledygook
It's the gobbledygook of the torturing Hanoi Hilton.

Linh Duy Vo
(The Boy in the Poem)
April 30, 2000

The Broken Berlin Wall

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