Three Poems

by Louis G. Parrillo
Vietnam 1969
submitted by, Gene Parrillo (son), WS LM-23
© Copyright 1998

My father never talked about the time he spent in Vietnam. All that I've learned has come from letters he wrote home and a diary that he kept. According to my grandmother, when he needed to think and understand he wrote poetry. He wrote quite a few poems while he was in Vietnam. He wrote Who Cares to help himself and also to help his mom, my grandmother.

Who Cares
by Louis G. Parrillo
(Gene Parrillo, © Copyright 1998) Who Cares

Some times I wonder what my mother thinks,
As she stands alone at the kitchen sink,
Looking out the window, into the yard,
Making me cookies, measuring the lard.

Is she worried about me over here?
Does she think I'll make it through the whole year?
Does she whisper to Him, a mother's prayer?:
"Please watch over him, God; Protect him there!"

"He's my only son, and I love him so;
And I cried so hard when I watched him go.
He was embarrassed by the tears I shed.
But they were the words I left unsaid."

"The joy, Dear God, he brought into my life;
Filled it with happiness, freed it from strife.
He is to me, God, a labor of love.
No greater good could've come from above."

"I held his hand at night when he was scared.
I held the bugs, worms and frogs, and I shared,
The many times when he was cold and sick;
The many times I switched him with a stick."

"He is no angel, God, you can be sure.
It'll take lots of forgiveness to make him pure.
But, he is my only son, and I Love him so.
Tell me You'll protect him, please let me know!"

"My empty hearts pleads to Your loving grace.
Let him come home, dry these tears on my face.
I want to see his grinning smile out there;
Outside my window--in the yard--out where ..."

"He played when he was just a little boy.
When life to him was just a great big toy--
Something for him to throw and kick around;
Something stuffed in his pockets, that I found."

"Thank you for listening to me up there.
Thank you for giving me his life to share.
And, thank you for hearing this mother's prayer.
Let him come home safely without a care!"

The cookies done and cooled and packed up,
Will she sit down and have a half a cup
Of cold coffee, held in her trembling hands?
And think again, her son's in another land.

A mother's anger and a mother's pain
Will break her poor heart and drive her insane.
But she trusts God, and makes her simple plea:
"Bring my only son safely back to me!"

Thanks, Mom, for thinking about me. Your son,
L/Cpl L. Parrillo
USMC 1/1


My father took his life in 1991. As for a picture, I'm not sure there is one. He destroyed most things before he died ... it was as if he was trying to erase his existence. Things that survived such as his letters and journal, the NVA flag and medals were things that his mom, my grandmother had. Even those things were thrown away at one time and retrieved by her. The poems are already protected under copyright laws.

At the suggestion of the psychologist who treated my father for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I sent copies to the Office of Copyright earlier this year. The psychologist was the one who suggested that I contact someone, like yourself. He believed the poems would be appreciated and benefit other Vietnam Veterans. The psychologist has used several of his poems in counseling sessions with Vietnam Veterans. One veteran, for example, was unable to tell his parents what it was like to lose his best friend. Apparently, the poem "This Was My Best That Day, Mom" said what he wanted to tell them about the lose of his friend. The psychologist, who has worked with veterans since 1969 when he was stationed at Walter Reed Hospital, broken down and wept after reading one poem. My father often signed his poems Einstein -- apparently, the men in his unit gave him that nickname because he wrote a lot.

Gene Parrillo


Date Posted: Wed, March 19 2008, 9:38:57
Author: Jared Bulette (Incredibly talented and inspiring)
Author Host/IP:
Subject: Poems by Louis G. Parrillo via his son Gene

I just wanted to briefly comment on the poems written by Louis Parrillo concerning some of his wartime experiences. First off, I am sorry to hear he felt he had no other option but to take his own life sometime ago. It is very apparent that he had a God given talent with the poetry he wrote. He was able to verbalize many of the thoughts and feelings I'm sure many vets feel in a very descriptive yet emotional way. I was very moved by them and felt like I knew exactly how he was feeling as he wrote each one. I'm sure that these poems will be a lasting legacy for him without him ever knowing or intending them to be. I have no doubt they will have some kind of positive and theraputic impact on other vets w/ similar feelings who just don't know how to put there's into words. I'm not a Nam vet, but I was touched by this man's writing just the same! God bless.

Responding regarding Louis G. Parrillo -- Sandra (Wow), Wed, December 13 2006, 10:40:47 (
Well i just wanted to say that this storie you wrote was really interesting. Im a student that goes to Foster and for a project we had to research war stories and write personal reflections.
This story shocked me. i couldnt believe that as a result of vietnam war, he did what he did. I honestly believe that the vietnam war is extremly powerful in many ways. Mind, Body, Spirit and soul. Its good and bad. I just want to say that your doing a really good thing, keep on researching. Hes poems were amazing, i wished he wouldnt of destroyed some of the other ones. I understand why they called him Einstein now.

Good luck.
Sandra Logo

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