Bradley T. Van Deusen

Bradley T. Van Deusen

OutcastsThe Convent of the Guns
Zero HourI May Deceive a Woman But...
Tuan JimmyTo A Girl



Outcast men of the world are we,
Sunk in the depths of iniquity
Detested by all and loved by none.
A blot on the face of the kindly sun.
Men of training and breeding and birth
Who knew full well what the game was worth
Who played their hands -- and lost --
-- and then
Lost themselves from the world of men.

We hid ourselves in the Island world
Where the flashing coils of the "Snake" are curled
We sought the depths to hide our shame.
The "thing" we had made of an honored name.
We swam the Bay in the early dawn
But the Shark came not, and we lived on.
We sought the end in the bolo's steel
But hearts wounds live, while flesh wounds heal.

We went unarmed to the Moro's "jil"
But they called us "mad" and they would not kill.
And the Padre came with his tale of Grace
But we knew better, and laughed in his face.

We twined our hearts in a woman's hair
Then tried to forget in the din and glare
Of a "tienda down on the opal bay
Where many men come and some men stay.

We lost ourselves in the Army then,
Our identity merely "Enlisted Men"
But in the dusk, when the shadows start to crawl
In their weird, wild dance on the barracks wall
A ghastly pageant that comes to stir
Our memory again to what we were
And we bow our heads and stifle a cry
For we don't know how and we'll never know why.

El Tigre.

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The Convent of the Guns

Our clean curved mouths are cold and dead.
Our polished skin is marred.
Our tawny thighs are thick with dirt,
Dinted, cut, and scarred;
Our day is done! But once!
Our open mouths blazed Deaths' caress
Our tongues with steel were tipped!
Ah! Bitter spinsters were we then
As we slashed and cut and ripped;
Our youth was filled with lovers
All laughing, joyous boys
Who stroked our slim, proud beauty
Their latest, deadly toys.
Then clean and fresh and polished
We went forth with the Dead
The living, lovely happy lads
Whose last touch, dyed us red.
But supplanted like all harlots
By the newer fresher one
We turned to rest and quiet
As our kind have always done,
With a printed tag about our throats
To inform our lovers' sons
We're an Ordanance Exhibition
The Convent of the Guns! El Tigre.

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Zero Hour

Grey stars agleam in a blank, dead sky
Grey guns agrowl below.
Grey clad men out beyond the wire.
Grey fields in the star-shells glow.

The barrage is a pounding symphony
That ears attuned cannot hear.
There's something flicking the parapet
There's something above you fear!

Not fear of "stopping one" above,
Or fear for the man beside.
There's something flicking the parapet
There's a fear that you cannot hide.

"Stand By!" The rifle is cool in your hand
And your heart pounds hard and quick.
There's something flicking the parapet
Number Three of the squad is sick.

The rifle hurts the palm of your hand
Like gripping a stiff wire brush
There's something flicking the parapet
"Walk slow through the wire, then rush!"

The whistle! The ladders! Up over the edge!
And your legs seem stiff and sore.
There's something flicking the parapet
Number Three is sick no more!

Grey stars agleam in a blank dead sky
Grey guns agrowl below.
Grey faces turned to the glowing stars
Where men lie dead in a row.

El Tigre.

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I May Deceive a Woman But Disappoint Her - Never!

A war-worn warrior
And a beautiful girl
Met in the darkness
Where black banners furl.

She was lovely
Her heart was warm.
He sought quiet
Out of the storm.

He said, "Love
Your heart's like jade
The green of quiet
Of a Virgin maid...

My hands are spatulate
Designed to caress
To mold tall columns
White limbs to press..."

She said, "Lover
I know you of old
In my dreams you're younger.
Not bitter or old...

My love's a warrior
Straight limbed and tall
With the pride of a peacock
On a marble wall....

You're bent and bitter.
Sword-scarred and worn
My love's a boy
White limbs untorn.

What would you have of me
Ghost of my love...
Dark bodied jungle beast
Tearing a dove."

"Girl," said the warrior
In ironed bodied might
You've lain beside me
In the star stabbed night

You've known my glories
Laughed at my fears
Why do you turn from me
In blinding tears.

Shall I cast my altar
Into the mere?
You are my Host of Hosts
Why should you fear?

Immaculate you came here
Virgin you go
My love's dreams' love
This you should know.

Your fresh mouth to mine, Love
Your body mine to press;
Close your eyes, so, Love
Dream Loves' caress.

By hands and mouth I build here
A dream to buoy on...
Something to cherish
When you are gone.

I shall know Beauty
Before I come to die
With bleeding, gaping mouth upturned
To a brazen, ghastly sky..."

The Girl said, "Warrior!
You have known Death
Hot, bright moments
And panting breath.

If I trust my visions
To you for a toy
It shall bring you happiness

But what of the boy?

Your ribbons tell of glory
Your eyes tell of pain.
Swordsman I come to you
Leave me without stain!"


What matters future, past
Or Gods above...
Two in the darkness
Have found Love...

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Tuan Jimmy

This is a tale of a lonely man,
Where the jungle grass is tall.
It was told to me on a lonely beach
Where the long blue shadows fall.

I have drifted my way through this island world,
For ten long years, come June
Forgotten my people, my race, my creed
And I think that the end is soon.
You gave me a drink and you're holding my head
And it's all that a friend could do
It's funny -- I don't feel a bit of pain
In the hole where the steel came through
I was young, and there was a girl
Who I loved as you'll never know.
I slipped, how doesn't matter
There was nothing to do but go.
A few years later, just drifting,
I picked up a paper at Prome
And the girl, was the girl from home.
It rather broke my heart, Lad
And the Beach claimed another soul.
Yea - another husk went drifting
Where the long blue breakers roll.
I'm about to go to my God, Chum,
But I've won away from my fears
And my God is a bitter God too
For he's had me in Hell for years!
Don't bother the Gu-Gu that got me
It's the way the game is run,
It's coppered and fixed and loaded
Adios! I'm thankful I'm done

With my bolo I carved him a tombstone
In coral, that the Beach might know
"Here lies Tuan Jimmy of England
He died as brave men go-"

The Stumble Bum

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To A Girl

I once wove a beautiful dream
Of a beautiful girl
That I met when existence was grey
A wonderful dream
Of a wonderful girl
And I knew that I'd nevermore stray.

The sword of the fighter
Is reddened with rust
And the joy of the conflict is stale
The wings of the drifter
Are graying with rust
Forgotten the songs of the trail.

I loved as a man
Who can love only one
And my world was the depth of her eyes
The beauty of earth
Was her hair in the sun
And the sound of her voice was my prize.

I knew it was futile
To love as I did
I suppose I'll love on to the end
I may have been foolish
But she'll never know
And at least I have found me a friend.


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Bradley Van Deusen

NJ Governor
Lewis Morris


Henry Livingston
Night Before Xmas
Henry Livingston

Lincoln Trial
Judge Advocate
Henry L. Burnett


Van Deusen


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