A Quaternity of Poems

[ Free Me From This Bond: Chapter 15 ]

[ I thought it would be nice to include four poems among many I’ve composed, dedicated to My Randolph. They were all written in the late 1980’s. The first one is quite long, unlike the remaining three.]


thinking of you this labor day
happy LOVE’S labor day
browsing in walgreens aisle of greeting cards
(mini via dolorosa):

In friendship…
Hang in there…
Something about you just makes my little heart
skip a beat…
I like you for what you are…
Every day something reminds me of you…
If wishing wells work, if crossed fingers count,
if theres any magic in the world…
A poem for you my love…
Top 10 reasons to smile…
When i think about us i wonder how i got so lucky
and then i remember…
Woke up with a wonderful thought today…
Its just me sending a little card to give you a
little smile a little lift…
For my guy…
When im with you i do things i really shouldnt do…


a moose? (broad brown antlers, huge honker,
head poked through open window
of your home, joyful licks)

puppy dogs
flowers, stars, crescent moons, hearts
a snake? (crooked stovepipe hat tipped in
friendly greeting, red bowtie)

pretending wishing
these cards
even one for gods sake

were sent from washington d c
return address randy taylor

oh why drown myself in grief?
why think of you anymore?


writing letters in the donut shop
to your adored one (jose)
Dearest Little Squirrel
i walked in
for the first time
our eyes met could not pull away

your feet on the stairs of 689 castro
as i stood at your door about to knock
walking in the rain
beside you under your umbrella
i wanted to beg you not to leave
but i said nothing

january 16 1985 11 o clock news your face on the

“randolph louis taylor vietnam veteran antiwar
and gay rights activist
gave speeches with ron kovic
(author of born on the 4th of july)
fasted 40 days in 84 for representation of
vietnam veterans at the s f democratic convention
shot himself early this morning at the vietnam
veterans memorial in washington d c”

i turned off the t v wept thought it was all over
but next day discovered it wasnt you were still alive!
desperately sought your whereabouts then wrote to you
letter after letter day after day until

those incredible love letters before i flew to d c
your desperate appeal:
“please help me stop the dying”
your promise (never fulfilled) to be
“as good a friend to you
as you have been to me”

your old mans snore (open mouth) as i gazed upon you
from the door of your hospital room in d c

marching out of the canteen in childish arrogance
because i scolded you
(walkman headphones over your ears)

wearing the hsing-hsing/ling-ling panda t shirt i bought you
your chest puffed with pride
boastful strides through VAMC corridors
new haircut
such lovely waves of silver hair!

shirt pulled up for me to touch the lump
bullet lodged beside your shoulder blade
strong broad marines back! sensuous smooth!
agent orange skin cancer operation scars!
brave soldier proud veteran of armageddon!
top gun my hero my little chipmunk!
my beloved comrade in arms!

your moist cool kiss on my neck like a playful vampire
beside the statue of saint francis
i threw my arms around your shoulders
raised myself off the grass
(youre so tall!)
to return the love bite

my lonely visit to “the wall”
“the wailing wall of amerika”
where you shot yourself in the heart
but missed
vietnam veterans memorial
black slabs of polished stone
pressed into the side of a grassy mound
inscribed with the names of the dead
the deluded homophobic dead
except for the few true believers
in brotherly love
(who? we may never know)
bronze statue of five soldiers raising
the american flag WWII
behind me & to my left
i shiver
while you play bingo back at the hospital

the agony of my departure after 3 weeks
alone on the jet (peoples express)
looking down from the sky
the white house the obelisk lincoln memorial
the veterans administration memorial center
where you were
knowing that by now you received my parting
bouquet of roses delivered to your door
tag attached: “semper fidelis. genie.”

dupont circle georgetown foggy bottom
the potomac river chesapeake bay
sudden burst of tears in my sleeve
oh how cruel you were to me
almost every time we were together
“gene, i never asked you to come here”

even after 15+ years i cannot believe that i am not
your hero guardian angel best buddy
that you turned your love to hate

but i still write to you
compose verses in your honor

thinking of you this labor day


If wishing wells work, if crossed fingers count,
if theres any magic in the world…


Please God don’t let Christmas come
Without my Randolph Taylor.
My quest is still a painful one:
Adrift at sea, a lonesome sailor.

I can’t believe that he is dead,
His soul bound to the quilt.
(Oh can’t this be another man,
Same name in glitter gilt?)

How many years I’ve walked this path
Of love’s devotion on the cross,
Only to echo The Devil’s laugh:
“You lost, you lost, you lost!”

I pray, I guess, for miracles,
Each breath a sacred wish:
My heart a candle in the dark,
Or in the deep blue ocean, a single
golden fish!

“Please help me stop the dying,” was
Randolph’s tender plea,
Scrolled across a letter: the first
he sent to me.
But now my sadness falls like rain,
And drowns my joy like a broken toy.
I cannot bear this pain.

I cannot bear not knowing
How you, dear Randolph, are.
(My heart forever glowing, whether
near or far
For a man who gave me everything
And set my course to a star!)

Without you, my dear Randolph,
I have no way to steer.
The waves are crashing ‘gainst the prow;
The clouds are tumbling near!

I yearn for you my chipmunk,
My little piece of Heaven.
If my soul were a loaf of bread,
Your kiss would be the leaven.


My heart is over-tired, so I must sing this song:
Bring my soldier home to me, he’s been gone too long!

Oh bring my soldier home to me, with a smile on his face,
And a tear or two for me and you, as we march in place.

Oh bring my soldier home to me, his home is in my heart!
Armageddon is The Wedding; know your part.

Oh bring my Daddy home to me; I am His Only One!
Uncleave my heart, unsheathe my tongue!
Plowshares to swords, faggots to Huns!
Butter to bullets, bread to guns!
Gay Revolution has begun!

Oh bring my lover home to me; the Starving Vet of
I nursed him back in Wash., D.C.; that’s why he’s still

Oh bring My Father home to me; the light is drawing near!
Yea, though I dally in Eureka Valley, I shall have no fear!

Oh bring my Randolph home to me; the coffee’s on the stove!
His tears that fell for all Nam Vets have made His Wish


i expect you to suddenly
like a friendly ghost
into my arms
neon kisses
gentle embrace
hands sweetly touching
at any moment
sitting waiting for me
over an avocado omelette

how very california

i enter and stumble all over you
i am so hungry
metal utensils pushed by happy elbows
clatter to the floor
a-harmonic chimes
merry wedding bells
joyful tears caresses
thank god thank god thank god
i taste your sweet saliva
illuminating a forkful of omelette
radioactive love!
that you press upon my tongue

i sigh over a plate
of french fries
the coffee
like my heart
my room
the building in which i live
like my heart
the streets
the people

the city
like my heart

oh brother of the lion heart
i wanted to
be your androcles
remove the bitter thorn

of viet nam

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