D-DAY: THE AMERICAN PATROL

We were loaded in barges off Normandy . . . when the assault boats started into the beach, we got everything . . . Artillery, machine guns, small arms fire, mortar shells, mines. They banged us up some on the way in . . . when the ramps went down men began to drop. —Pvt. George Gutschke to the Associated Press July 12, 1944

Channel Coast off Normandy. 0715 Hours.

The morning is raw and the Channel full of menace. Winds whip the sea. The sea seethes and writhes and heaves our assault barge into its transport with a clang.

And all over our barge doughboys retch.

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REMEMBERING D-DAY

On June 6, 1944, my dad – Pvt. George C. Gutschke, is a member of the 29th Infantry Division, assigned to the Western Task Force: Assault Force B.

Allied planners intend Assault Force B to land on Omaha Beach in the evening of June 6 and the morning of June 7 to mop up German resistance and reinforce the beachhead; Maj. Gen. Charles Gerhardt, however, argues the original invasion plan does not put sufficient forces on Omaha Beach in the early morning should German troops mount stiff resistance. General Omar Bradley agrees ordering elements of Force B to sail with Force O so they might be committed to the battle if necessary. Continue reading

H.G. WELLS AND THE SENSATION OF TIME

I am afraid I cannot convey the peculiar sensations of time travel. They are exceedingly unpleasant.  — The Time Machine (1895)

July 9th, 2009.

Today I finished the final chapters of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and felt the sadness I always feel when finishing a great book—it is the sadness of parting ways with people I have grown to love with the turn of every page. But mixed with my sadness was pride of accomplishment.  I had started the book numerous times, but always lost my way. This time I set off with the Time Traveler determined to see the journey to its end. Continue reading

A SUMMER HAIKU FOR MY MOM

To use a poetic form that is best suited for one language to compose a poem in another is always touch-and-go. And haiku is one such form. I think this works better as two lines rather than three.

I wrote this in August of 2005 after seeing a small kite hung up on power lines and remembering how when I was a child, my mom and I entangled a kite on nearby power lines. I remember looking at my mom mortified and saying: “Wait ’till dad sees this.” My dad was not amused.

for my mom
Summer-colored kite and a boy’s hot tears
Hung up with high-tension lines.

©2005 Kent Gutschke.  All rights reserved..

THE THANG: A SCI-FI LULLABY

May 26, 2017.

In a brittle issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from November 1952, I stumbled across a short story entitled “Bem” by sci-fi author Charles T. Webb. His story so amused me that I decided to write my own using “Bem” as one inspiration and the 1897 UFO crash in Aurora, Texas as another. And without my knowing it, my prose fell into rhythm with rhymes and near rhymes, and to my amazement, I had the first two stanzas of a poem.

Any fans of sci-writer Henry Kuttner will see that I also took inspiration from his Galloway Gallagher story entitled “The World Is Mine” first published in Astounding Stories in June 1943 under the pseudonym Lewis Padgett.

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NEWS FLASH: MARS ATTACKS WITHOUT REASON

It is an Associated Press dispatch, describing a universal nightmare.   —The Critic April 23, 1898

June 25, 2012.

After two unsatisfying productions, one produced by George Pal in 1953 and another directed by Steven Spielberg in 2005, it is obvious that Hollywood – from its producers and directors down to its writers and its gaffers – does not understand H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1898).  Both Pal and Spielberg modernize the story and by doing so, doom both films before the end of their opening credits. Like the Martians, who did not survive leaving their native soil, The War of the Worlds does not survive modernization without cheapening it, turning it into yet another clichéd invasion film with its sole distinction being H. G. Wells’ name on its credits. Continue reading