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In honor of Veteran’s Day I have but two humble poems. The first, 1969 is one of the first poems I wrote in 1982, this being its debut to the world. The poem was inspired by a Vietnam veteran that I had the pleasure to work along side. The second, A Letter Home was inspired by an Iraq/Afghanistan veteran who, after a chance meeting in the spring of 2013 is now a dear friend. Even though thirty years have passed and I am still writing poetry about war, I pray each day that in the near future, I will write a final war poem inspired by the homecoming of the final soldier in a world without war.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1969

We were there in ’69,
young and crazy, feeling high.
Had been sent out just as kids,
to do a job no man ever did.

You’d sit at home and watch
the NBA,
while we’d go hunt
the NVA.

You’d watch a movie
that would make you cry,
while we held our buddies
and watched them die.

Your wives put lunches
in small brown sacks,
As they stuffed my brothers
in green body bags.

As you assembled
young Johnnie’s new bike,
we’d be out
on a forty-click hike.

With nothin’ to eat
but those damn C-rations,
and you’d hit Hawaii
for a second vacation.

Then you’d worry
about who’d mow your lawn,
as we turned around
to find our best friend gone.

We’d be out bustin’ caps-
just a front line grunt,
who didn’t need a license
for this kind of hunt.

Some people act
like they don’t give a damn.
But I’m proud of having served
in Vietnam.

 

Artwork by April J. Moore

Artwork by April J. Moore

A LETTER HOME

Two weeks in country-
damn boots
pinch my Toes.

Hell on earth.
Scorched landscape.
Desolate with fear.

The blistering heat
stifles all sound.
I hear myself sweat.

We haven’t seen
the enemy-
but know he is near.

At night
I listen
as he breathes,

and feel his
heart beat
in my chest.

I lie awake
wondering,
who will survive?

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To all who have served, I thank you for the choices you’ve made in duty to this country so that I have the freedom to choose . . . every day of my life.

 

 

 

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