You, mother, did not know me then
as the band played John Philip Sousa
and we marched across the football field
The Manual for Drill and Ceremonies
gave a picture of how we were to look and we looked it;
of how it was to be done: And we did it.
"Pretty as a picture," someone said, that sunny day in May
seeing a hundred cadets, neatly ranked and filed
pass in review.
You, stranger with long yellow hair,
You did not know me four years later
as the lights changed on 42nd Street and we stepped off the curb.
You looked at me, dressed in green, and saw a picture.
Murderer, you called to the picture.
Not meeting my eye, speaking to my clothing.
You, in black hidden by bushes and night's darkness,
You never knew me
You had your pictures perhaps, taught in your school
Foreign devil, running dog, Yankee imperialist
For that you would kill me,
and for my pictures of gooks in black pajamas
I would kill you.
And you, with your history books,
Don't ask me how it was
And imagine you will get who I am
Don't look for me in steaming jungle flics about Apocalyptic platoons
sensational thrillers of
pictures of trained killers running wild
Don't look for me in the picture show
Don't look for me among the picture show men
Men without fathers, men without names
Rambo, they called him, but he had a name
and all he ever wanted was a father to tell him,
"You done good, John."
And you, lover, don't look for me in your picture show
Don't admire your pictures about me
Don't pity your pictures about me
Don't patronize your pictures about me
Don't use me for your pictures about me
See past the pictures, the stories, the silence
Look for me in the words so hard to speak
Look for me in the tears so hard to make
Look for me in the laughter that comes by surprise
Look for me when our eyes meet
When our hands touch
Be with me.
Don't look for me in the picture show.