Facing It- Yusef Komunyakaa

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Contemporary Poetry Anthology Project FACING IT- Life for soldiers in the heat of the Vietnam War was hell. Vietnamese soldiers used brutal, barbaric, and devilish tactics, using the terrain around them as a killing machine. They instilled fear into the American soldiers minds by using tunnels and land mines that had the ability to tear limbs from human bodies. Komunyakaa speaks about the Vietnam Memorial in his poem “Facing it”. At the beginning of the poem, his “black face fades, hiding inside the black granite.” It seems as if memories from the past have come back to the mind of the speaker, putting him back into these moments of terror in the war. The third line of the poem says, “I said I wouldn’t, dammit: No tears.” He seems to have been thinking about this moment of confrontation, and had previously convinced himself that he would not break down over the emotion that this lone, black granite wall brought to him. In the fifth line, “I’m stone. I’m flesh.” tears the speaker into two realities. He sees himself in the real world as living and human, but also visualizes himself inside the wall of the Memorial. It leads the reader to think that maybe he had a traumatic moment on the battlefield, a moment that he should not have lived through. The speaker turns, and is released by the wall and its memories. He turns again, and it shrouded in the emotions that are portrayed and he is “inside the Vietnam Veterans Memorial again,”. The author “go(es) down the 58,022 names, half-expecting to find” his own name in the thousands upon thousands of scratches that remember the soldiers that gave their lives. “I touch the name Andrew Johnson; I see the booby trap’s white flash”. The speaker visualizes the death of this man, who could have been an officer, possibly a good soldier, possibly a childhood friend, and sees his all-too-quick death by one of the crude devices that

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