Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I WEAR HIS JACKET (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

The military jacket was crumpled
in a sloppy ball on the floor of the
antique show that some chickadee
dragged me to.

After hours and hours and rows
upon rows of beat-to-shit furniture,
hat pins and jewelry boxes, I saw it,
this gorgeously authentic army jacket.
Laying there, musty and crinkled, I
tried it on and it was a perfect fit.
This was the real deal, not some
knockoff shit direct from Abercrombie
but a coat that evoked history.

From the tattered interior stitching
I'm guessing the coat was issued
during Korea or maybe even Vietnam.
The patch had the name 'HALL'
and I started to think about him.

Wearing it, not a day goes by where
I don't have questions like how many
offensives had he seen? Was he scared?
I think of the mud he crawled through.
I think of the horrendous rain this
coat must have endured and the
cigarettes he must have smoked during
those uncertain night patrols.

I wear his jacket and I think of the
dog he missed and that perfume
she used to wear on their dates
at the drive in that drove him crazy.

I think about his mom's reaction when
he told her that he enlisted and how
proud his dad secretly was that his boy
would finally be made a man by Uncle Sam.

I think of 'HALL' as I drive to work
and I do the math. He must have kids
around my age if he were still here.
I wonder if they think their dad was a hero?

I wear his jacket quite frequently now
and every time I get a compliment
for it, I think that yes, I wear 'Hall's'
jacket, but I could never fill his shoes.

"I Wear His Jacket" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Rhonda Lorence, track No. 11 "Trail of Tears" on the album "Movements in the Moment," and provided by Magnatune.


  1. Wow, Anthony, this was so poignant. It felt like complete silence when I was reading it. At one point I wondered if the jacket was putting those thoughts into his head.

    Excellent job.

  2. This is one of the best things I've read all year. I'm serious. I loved everything about it - the light-hearted tone of everyday situations with some 'chickadee' to the down right grit of the human soul.

    In a way, you are a child of his too, carrying on his legacy of pride and honor.

    Really fantastic, Anthony.

  3. Anthony, I read this first and absolutely loved it. However, when I listened to your audio version as well, like Laurita, everything felt quiet and still. An amazing piece!!!

  4. Not only did this character feel real to me, but the 'Hall' was even more so. Such a wonderful tribute to the men who give their lives for us everyday. Outstanding. Your voice made it very personal.

  5. A fantastically wrought piece of audio fiction here, Anthony. The music and sound effects work perfectly. The story is very good, the neat line at the end encapsulating the thrust and feel of the piece. What a brilliant way to illustrate the ethereal weight of history we lend to inanimate objects.

  6. This is a beautiful read. I think of the men in my family that wore such a jacket and thank God, they made it home. Great job.

  7. Thanks to all for reading and stopping by... I truly appreciate it.

    1. Hi - I am Joy Leftow, editor of The Cartier Street Review. I'd love to publish this poem for the fall issue of Cartier. Actually, I'd like to publish two and feature you with a longish bio plus links.

  8. This is insightful,emotional, and reverent. Has a nice rhythm to it, too.

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  10. Beautiful poem and a gorgeous reading, Ant. Deeply warm and respectful piece.

    Once again, I'm in awe of your talent.

    Simply excellent.

  11. I'm so glad that you're participating in #SpokenSunday, Anthony, I'm catching up on past pieces of yours that I missed the first time around. This was a fantastic piece. I recently did some wartime stories and this is a very powerful tribute to our men-in-arms.

  12. Sometimes I think about this when I see those knock-off jackets they make. I wonder what's the point of them, when there's all this behind the real ones. This is such a poignant poem, and once again your reading and the atmosphere is exactly right.


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