Sunday, December 15, 2019

Frank Wagner, RIP

Frank Wagner: 2019 "Man of the Year," Frontline Arts
(photo: Robert Sliclen) 

Frank Wagner died at home in Bogota, NJ on or around Veterans Day, just before his 78th birthday. He was being treated for cancer associated with Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. 

A multiple recipient of art show awards from the VA, Frank shared his art skills with fellow vets at the Secaucus Vet Center art group, Frontline Arts and elsewhere, including as a patient at East Orange and Lyons VA Medical Centers. 

A member of Disabled American Veterans, Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Frank was a frequent participant in peace vigils and peace marches in New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC. 

His art work appeared in shows at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY; Columbia University, NYC; Puffin Cultural Forum, Teaneck, NJ; Brennan Courthouse, Jersey City; NJ; Frontline Arts, Branchburg, NJ and many other sites. 

The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste
For Frank Wagner, 1941-2019

“The mind is a terrible thing to waste!”
Frank periodically shouted
At outrageous inanity by some dim-witted,
Dingbat, wayward driver—

Peace buttons festooning Vietnam vet hat,
Frank fumed for over 50 years
At being drafted and sent to war
Because he flunked a college course—

Battlefield flashbacks set off explosive,
X-rated outbursts, propelling fireworks
Of precisely re-calibrated moments
Of mayhem and miraculous survival—

Dubbing himself “TuDo,”  
Frank frequented peace vigils and protest  
Marches, smoking tokes, taking photos
And making exquisite art

"Eyes" by Frank Wagner