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R. R. Reese

Years: 2008


R. R. Reese is a Master of Fine Arts candidate at San Francisco State University and a graduate of Santa Clara University with a BA in English Literature.  His poems have appeared in the Poems Against War, Drunken Boat, Santa Clara Review, Monterey JournalAuthorizing HumanityThe Voice, and in other journals.  He is a Cave Canem Fellow and a Graduate Equity Fellow of San Francisco State University. 



Standing there a Vietnam Vet, on the curbside at a red traffic light, had begged there for some time. He was black, a mechanic, mid-fifty, and we believed he could get off the streets. He was shamed of standing there. But this was work.His work was the way he kept his ashy body, kept his dusty cardboard sign, and eyed at each passerby, as he asked and they considered answers to his prayers.A week ago, holding enough coins for a tall cup of coffee, he went through the doors of a Veterans Clinic and a receptionist greeted him. Uncle Bobby said to the black woman, “Miss, you know you all are the only ones who can help me. You know that you know that too, but what you think can be done now, now that you say I got this thing, this Agent Orange. Damn. I've been on that glass dick to stop the pain! Can you hear me?” An anger that he had carried out in his words— hit him hard, heavy. And he looked down at the checkered tiled floor as he said, “I'm sorry. I just can't get away.”