The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

The Art of Tetman Callis header image 4

Entries Tagged as 'The Vietnam War'

Sweet dreams are made of these

June 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head.” – Tim O’Brien, “The Lives of the Dead”

[Read more →]

Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

What it takes, what it makes

June 6th, 2017 · No Comments

“By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others.” – Tim O’Brien, “Notes”

[Read more →]

Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Pretty as a picture

June 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“For all its horror, you can’t help but gape at the awful majesty of combat. You stare out at tracer rounds unwinding through the dark like brilliant red ribbons. You crouch in ambush as a cool, impassive moon rises over the nighttime paddies. You admire the fluid symmetries of troops on the move, the harmonies […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Lit & Crit · The Vietnam War · Tim O'Brien

Definitions

June 4th, 2017 · No Comments

“War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.” – […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Tell it like it is

June 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Economics · The Vietnam War · Tim O'Brien

The connection

June 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” – Tim O’Brien, “Spin”

[Read more →]

Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Shrapnel of being

June 1st, 2017 · No Comments

“What sticks to memory, often, are those odd little fragments that have no beginning and no end.” – Tim O’Brien, “Spin”

[Read more →]

Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Reasons to live

May 31st, 2017 · No Comments

“They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing—these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many […]

[Read more →]

Tags: The Vietnam War · Tim O'Brien

In dreams begin responsibilities

May 30th, 2017 · No Comments

“During my first month back I woke up one night and knew that my living room was full of dead Marines. It actually happened three or four times, after a dream I was having those nights (the kind of dream one never had in Vietnam), and that first time it wasn’t just some holding dread […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

The company one keeps

May 29th, 2017 · No Comments

“All kinds of thieves and killers managed to feel sanctimonious around us; battalion commanders, civilian businessmen, even the grunts, until they realized how few of us were making any real money in it. There’s no way around it, if you photographed a dead Marine with a poncho over his face and got something for it, […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

The bullshit circus

May 28th, 2017 · No Comments

“It was characteristic of a lot of Americans in Vietnam to have no idea when they were being obscene, and some correspondents fell into that, writing their stories from the daily releases and battlegrams, tracking them through with the cheer-crazed language of the MACV Information Office, things like ‘discreet burst’ (one of those tore an […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Not proud of it, either

May 27th, 2017 · No Comments

“Somewhere on the periphery of that total Vietnam issue whose daily reports made the morning papers too heavy to bear, lost in the surreal contexts of television, there was a hideous war and all kinds of victims. But there was also a Command that didn’t feel this, that rode us into attrition traps on the […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Top billing

May 26th, 2017 · No Comments

“I keep thinking about all the kids who got wiped out by seventeen years of war movies before coming to Vietnam to get wiped out for good. You don’t know what a media freak is until you’ve seen the way a few of those grunts would run around during a fight when they knew that […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Testify

May 25th, 2017 · No Comments

“They would ask you with an emotion whose intensity would shock you to please tell it, because they really did have the feeling that it wasn’t being told for them, that they were going through all of this and that somehow no one back in the World knew about it. They may have been a […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Wash day

May 24th, 2017 · No Comments

“The sergeant had lain out near the clearing for almost two hours with a wounded medic. He had called over and over for a medevac, but none had come. Finally, a chopper from another outfit, an LOH, appeared, and he was able to reach it by radio. The pilot told him that he’d have to […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Ways to go

May 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

“There were choices everywhere, but they were never choices that you could hope to make. There was even some small chance for personal style in your recognition of the one thing you feared more than any other. You could die in a sudden bloodburning crunch as your chopper hit the ground like dead weight, you […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

The lion-hearted

May 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“It was hard to know what you really learned about courage. How many times did somebody have to run in front of a machine gun before it became an act of cowardice? What about those acts that didn’t require courage to perform, but made you a coward if you didn’t? It was hard to know […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Getting off

May 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“ ‘Quakin’ and Shakin’, ’ they called it, great balls of fire, Contact. Then it was you and the ground: kiss it, eat it, fuck it, plow it with your whole body, get as close to it as you can without being in it yet or of it, guess who’s flying around about an inch […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

The field of battle

May 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“Roof of the Rex, ground zero, men who looked like they’d been suckled by wolves, they could die right there and their jaws would work for another half-hour. This is where they asked you, ‘Are you a Dove or a Hawk?’ and ‘Would you rather fight them here or in Pasadena?’ Maybe we could beat […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Crazy days

May 19th, 2017 · No Comments

“A lot of men found their compassion in the war, some found it and couldn’t live with it, war-washed shutdown of feeling, like who gives a fuck. People retreated into positions of hard irony, cynicism, despair, some saw the action and declared for it, only heavy killing could make them feel so alive. And some […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

This ain’t no game, homes

May 18th, 2017 · No Comments

“One night I woke up and heard the sounds of a firefight going on kilometers away, a ‘skirmish’ outside our perimeter, muffled by distance to sound like the noises we made playing guns as children, KSSSHH KSSSHH; we knew it was more authentic than BANG BANG, it enriched the game and this game was the […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Weariness terminal

May 17th, 2017 · No Comments

“Imagine being too tired to snap a flak jacket closed, too tired to clean your rifle, too tired to guard a light, too tired to deal with the half-inch margins of safety that moving through the war often demanded, just too tired to give a fuck and then dying behind that exhaustion. There were times […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Quick, cover that up

May 16th, 2017 · No Comments

“Year after year, season after season, wet and dry, using up options faster than rounds on a machine-gun belt, we called it right and righteous, viable and even almost won, and it still only went on the way it went on. When all the projections of intent and strategy twist and turn back on you, […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Truther

May 15th, 2017 · No Comments

“There wasn’t a day when someone didn’t ask me what I was doing there. Sometimes an especially smart grunt or another correspondent would even ask me what I was really doing there, as though I could say anything honest about it except ‘Blah blah blah cover the war’ or ‘Blah blah blah write a book.’ […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

National war zone

May 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“You could be in the most protected space in Vietnam and still know that your safety was provisional, that early death, blindness, loss of legs, arms or balls, major and lasting disfigurement—the whole rotten deal—could come in on the freakyfluky as easily as in the so-called expected ways, and you heard so many of those […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

Taking secrets to the grave

May 13th, 2017 · No Comments

“Patrol went up the mountain. One man came back. He died before he could tell us what happened.” – Unidentified U.S. soldier (quoted by Michael Herr in Dispatches)

[Read more →]

Tags: Michael Herr · The Vietnam War

On the national seal

May 12th, 2017 · No Comments

“Vietnam harbored a variety of exotic animals, and they were often attracted by our perimeter lights. I once watched an anteater collect dinner for nearly an hour. Bats swooped at us; their sonar seemed to be attracted by the telephones. And there were the reptiles, especially the ‘fuck-you’ lizard. Science calls him the gecko, after […]

[Read more →]

Tags: John Ketwig · The Vietnam War

Uncivil war

May 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“One of our men was killed when he approached a forlorn dog that had a satchel charge cleverly sewn into its belly. (A stupid mistake. Dogs were eaten in Vietnam. Cats were a delicacy. Pets did not exist, and the unusual in The Nam was usually deadly.) More common, and perhaps the most heartbreaking memory […]

[Read more →]

Tags: John Ketwig · The Vietnam War

Careful where you put that

May 9th, 2017 · No Comments

“Like everything in The Nam, even lovemaking could be deadly. One member of our company, affectionately referred to as ‘Champ,’ contracted gonorrhea seventeen times in twelve months. A legendary superstrain, the ‘black syph,’ was supposedly incurable. Fearful of introducing this horror to Hometown, U.S.A., the army supposedly sent ‘black syph’ victims to Okinawa (Camp Crotch-rot) […]

[Read more →]

Tags: John Ketwig · The Vietnam War

You put your money down and you take your chances

May 8th, 2017 · No Comments

“The barber was too young for military service, but he was a fine barber. He shaved you with little tin razors that looked like toys, and carefully shaped your eyebrows and shaved the insides of your ears. After each shave or haircut, he urged you to lean forward and ‘popped’ your vertebrae into place one […]

[Read more →]

Tags: John Ketwig · The Vietnam War