Robert Olen Butler Wants Nachos

by Randy Brown

by Randy Brown

Author of 18 books

Pulitzer Prize-winner

Guggenheim fellow

Vietnam War veteran


tells the Air Force cadets

that Buddhists have it figured out:

We are all creatures of desire.


Last night at this time

I stood next to him in line at Hap’s Lounge,

so I feel qualified to say at least this much:


At one point in his life

all Robert Olen Butler wanted

was some unbroken, circular tortilla chips.



Randy Brown embedded with his former Iowa Army National Guard unit as a civilian journalist in Afghanistan, May-June 2011. A 20-year veteran with a previous overseas deployment, he subsequently authored the poetry collection Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire (Middle West Press, 2015). His poetry and non-fiction have appeared widely in literary print and on-line publications, including Stone Canoe, Drunken Boat, F(r)iction, and So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. As “Charlie Sherpa,” he blogs about citizen-soldier culture at, and about military-themed writing at

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