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Friday, March 13, 2015

unrequited man

his body vapors rise like smoke off burning embers
the sun beats down onto the rags of shirt and pants
the odor he emits offends all who walk by
even stray dogs and cats stop but for a moment
to relieve themselves upon this shell of a man
who lies there in a fetal position like a carcass
who’s soul awaits his second trip to Hell  

years prior he lay quiet in the same way in the brush,
in the bush, silent and breathless, as harrowing
swishes flew o’er his head leaving red and yellow firery
steamers with deadly intent felling limbs of trees and grasses
falling atop him as the AK47 lead  swish by to their end.
no flesh of his is taken by them tonight but soon daylight 
would unveil blood trails and human flesh lying strewn on
hills and dales which are discerned by a number
indentified in the writ of Vietnam’s myths and tales    

before his journey to hell he studied Socrates and
Plato, William James and Nietzche, military strategies,
tactics of campaigns by MacArthur, Patton, Bradley
and Churchill and his commanders, Pres. Johnson and
Generals, Westmoreland, Abrams and Weyan but now
in the rice fields with large mosquitoes like horse flies,
heat and humidity that could melt a stick of butter, he
lies waiting to scour the paddies for the target of his mission
and later to find the remains of his buddies whose blood
flows red atop the murky rice paddies along with carcass of
antlered-muntjac, boars and pot bellied pigs floating about

his return to the town he grew up, he is scorned, disparaged
spit upon like the stray dog and feral cats that now lay waste
on him and the uncaring human civilians who just walk by
knowing little about what he's seen, the incomprehensible he
was forced to do to survive without regard for life in order that
he and the few remaining buddies could come back home

reoccurring nightmares, flashbacks now fill his space and time
he doesn’t trust himself around people who scorn and sling animus
at him for now they all look like the enemy, the NVA, he was sent
to eliminate. so he curls up now in a dark space to escape his demons
and all who just walk by know little of this man who defended them
from a promulgated notion that communism was at their door step    
for Poet’s United Midweek Motif- A Man’s Day