about me…

I’m Cathy.  I’m a Virginian and I grew up during the years of the Vietnam War.  I was in the generation too late, thank goodness, to actually go to war, but as a child I watched the horrors of that war on television.  I also watched news coverage of student protests on college campuses all over America and was really affected by the Kent State massacre.  I’ve been living and teaching English in South Korea for almost a year now and I am trying to explore as much of Asia as I can while I’m here.  This journey is one I’ve been wanting to take for a long time.  So, here I go!

Here is a poem I wrote about a photograph taken in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings:


A young woman kneels, face jumbled,
mouth open, howling in disbelief.
In her daisy bellbottoms, she grabs
a faceless friend in a fringe jacket.
A white scarf hangs lopsided
around her neck like a noose.
The acrid smell of gunpowder
and blood blossoms in the air.

She belts out her death wail.
I traipse by and gape, as captured
by her screaming agony as by the dead
blue-jean boy lying face down
in blood and concrete.  He’s stretched out
straight as a battle line,
like my boyfriend
when he sleeps on the beach.

Someone tells me they also killed
two other boys and a girl.  Before
she was shot, she slipped a flower
into the barrel of a guardsman’s rifle
with a wistful smile –
“Flowers are better than bullets.”

Dazed and foggy, I’m on my way
to Biology lab, not even part of the protest.
I hate the whole Vietnam, Cambodia scene,
but my God, it’s on the other side of the world.
Frankly, I don’t want to get involved.
Now, here it is on my campus
and I want to kneel with that girl
and wail for my massacred fellow students
and all the boys blown apart in Vietnam,
and for fathers who think the way
mine does – that those damn hippies
deserve to die.
~ by Cathy Birdsong Dutchak
July 25, 2001
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