Terrible experiences during the war can leave anyone traumatized. Especially, when those experiences continue to keep on coming back to haunt you. Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem “Facing It” discusses how the war had influenced him much and describing the pains he is experiencing when he recalls the horror of those experiences. The poem reveals the author’s struggles during and after the war by presenting imagery throughout the poem.
The poem starts when he stated, “My black face fades, hiding inside the black granite,” (Komunyakaa 604) Yusef was describing his appearance on the wall. By using the words “black face,” Yusef used a visual imagery so a reader can tell that he is a black man. By doing that, a reader can have a better picture of what Yusef will tell on the following lines. “Dammit: No tears,” (Komunyakaa 604) Yusef couldn’t control his feelings and he tells himself that he is a “stone” (Komunyakaa 604) which implied being solid that feels no pain but he stated, “I’m flesh,” (Komunyakaa 604) to show that he is a human that feels pain. Yusef indicated how he was affected by the war and it seems like he can’t control his emotional state. As he was staring at the names on the wall, he saw his reflection on the black granite wall and tells readers the words, “like a bird of prey,” (Komunyakaa 604) to show that Yusef was being haunted by his memories back in Vietnam. As Yusef said, “stone lets me go,” (Komunyakaa 604) this shows that Yusefwants to break free from those memories. The panics he had are unbearable and there is no way to escape those dark memories that he had during the war. While he reads the names on the wall, “A white vet’s image floats / closer to me, then his pale eyes / look through mine. I’m a window,” (Komunyakaa 605) he was describing how a white veteran was also affected by the war. Yusef could tell that the man wasn’t generally looking at him since this veteran has his own horrifying experiences during the war. Yusef knew that he wasn’t the only one that was severely influenced by the war. He expresses how he felt about the war and about how others were also deeply affected by the war.
The poem clearly states the story of how a war can affect countless people’s lives. Yusef effectively described his emotions towards the war by using imagery throughout the poem. The many visual imageries in the poem show Yusef’s sufferings even after the war had finished and he can’t escape it. All the awful memories he recalled while looking at himself, it’s unavoidable and Yusef will forever remember every single moment that occurred during that war and it doesn’t matter where he goes, those memories will forever keep on haunting him. He realized that his experience can’t be isolated from his identity and the only thing he can do is face it.