Contributions by John Samuel Tieman

How To Tell A War Story

By | John Samuel Tieman, Prose

I remember the day Senior Drill Sergeant Rose lined us up in squads of eight. It was the first week of Basic Training. “Every single one of you is going to The Nam. Consider yourselves officially dipped in shit. Now look up and down your squad. There’s eight of you. This time next year, one …

The Next Renaissance or The Conjectures of a Reluctant Optimist

By | John Samuel Tieman, Prose

Y si he de dar un testimonio sobre mi época es éste: Fue bárbara y primitiva pero poética. And if I have to give witness to my era it’s this: It was barbarous and primitive yet poetic.     -Ernesto Cardinal / John Samuel Tieman I: The Madonna My wife and I spent a couple of weeks …

The Guest Lecture

By | John Samuel Tieman, Poetics, Prose

  Settling on the screen Of the crowded movie house, A white butterfly. — Richard Wright Thank you for that kind and generous introduction. I am really looking forward to meeting whomever it was you were talking about. I may well be the least likely poet in the world to give a lecture on composition. …

The Education of a Gun Owner — Day Nine

By | John Samuel Tieman, Prose

Gun Day Nine – Reflections I sometimes consider how small the weapon is, and compare that to how much it can destroy. I loaded the weapon just once, just to see what it feels like. It felt heavier than I expected. Then I unloaded it. Now, the Smith And Wesson sits under a hat across …

The Education of a Gun Owner — Day Eight

By | John Samuel Tieman, Prose

Gun Day Eight Janet gives me the address of a gun smith, who specializes in antiques. I drive over after work. Surprisingly, the place is more like a museum than what I expect, a gun-nut hobby shop. And the owners are well educated and articulate. One guy went to my high school, a private Catholic …

The Education of a Gun Owner — Day Seven

By | John Samuel Tieman, Prose

Gun Day Seven I ask a neighbor if he thinks I should register this pistol. “No, no, no! The only thing registration will do is help the government find you when they come to take our guns away.” I don’t know what to say. But I think to myself, “Isn’t there about 17,000 societal things …

The Education of a Gun Owner — Day Six

By | John Samuel Tieman, Prose

Gun Day Six I want to speak to someone about gun safety, and about registering my weapon. So I call the police. A secretary answers. She is quite helpful, cheery, almost ebullient. She tells me of the “gun safety officer,” who can visit my home. I find such community outreach comforting. I’m told to call …

The Education of a Gun Owner — Day Five

By | John Samuel Tieman, Prose

Gun Day Five I’ve thought a lot about masculinity. One thing Vietnam taught me is that sometimes masculinity is simply too high a price to pay for being male. Is owning a gun about being masculine? _____