Yusef Komunyakaa's Facing It Poem

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Many authors write poems based on experience. During a major event, such as war, authors have feelings that they want to express. African American authors were not able to express themselves throughout slavery and war. It would have been a dangerous thing to do. Therefore, they used music, writings, writing poems and stories was the best way to put out their situations.
In Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem “Facing It,” he discusses his experience during the vietnam-war' class='brand-secondary'>Vietnam War. Komunyakaa was in Louisiana during the civil War. During the Vietnam War, he joined the army as a correspondent (Poets). Later, he began writing newspapers for the military called The Southern Cross. The poem begins with the reflection of Komunyakaa’s face fading as he views the stone. Those lines read, “My black face fades, / hiding inside the black granite” (1-2). The black granite does not allow his skin tone to show. He emphases his ethnicity when he uses ‘black’ twice. Furthermore, Komunyakaa acknowledged himself as an African American and created a connection between himself and the memorial. Here I believe he realized he should be on the memorial. He is remembering an incident during the Vietnam War that should have taken his life. His fading face makes me assume that he realizes that there were no separate races in that war. They were all Americans. In the next line, Komunyakaa can not control his emotions. He rejects his emotions when he says, “I said I wouldn't, / dammit: No tears” (3-4). When Komunyakaa views the wall his past emotions rush back to him. As he struggles with the emotions his perception of himself and his surroundings change. At the beginning, his face was distant, but appeared as discussed the memorial and its meaning. He could now describe h...

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...ch other's breath” (27-31). These lines indicate that the soldiers are divided between blacks and whites. They are all fighting for the same cause but are separated by race. In addition, they all seek attention from the same women. The women connect the races, and the men are unaware of this.
It is important that we examine their poems so we can know what they experienced. It is helpful to others because they may have experienced the same situation. They may have also wanted to speak.

Works Cited

Komunyakaa, Yusef. “Facing It.” Neon Vernacular. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan UP, 1993: 159.
Komunyakaa, Yusef. “Tu Do Street.” Neon Vernacular. Hanover, NH:
Wesleyan UP, 1993: 147. Print.
Morledge, William. 'MIDNITE HOUR - Bangkok Eyes'. Bangkokeyes.com. N. p., 2014. Web.
26 Apr. 2014.
"Yusef Komunyakaa." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

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