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 Category:  War and History Poetry
  Posted: September 2, 2019      Views: 49

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I am a veteran of the Vietnam war, having served as a medic with the 101st. Airborne Division. I was a social worker and therapist for thirty-five years. I now spend my days writing, hiking the Sonoran Desert and volunteering/playing with stingrays, - more...

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Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.
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Vietnam, 1970
"Why?" by David R. Davis
We went to war as boys.
Old enough they said, almost men.
What else would they say, men don't go to die without cause.
But there was no cause, none at least for our youthful ears.
They gave us guns; they cut our hair; they called us warriors.
Our trade for this new claim, a price to pay - innocence.
Stand at attention boy or I'll make you part of that wall.
Yes, sir!
I'm a sergeant, I work for a living.
Yes sir, I'm sorry sir, I mean yes drill sergeant.
The stewardess, blond and kind, she had to be; we were flying to war.
Where's home soldier?
From Texas mam.
I wish you the best, come home safely.
I hope so mam.
Eyes turned away; a warrior can't let a blond and kind stewardess see you cry.
Who'd have thought Vietnam would be so beautiful?
Get your butts off my tarmac and into that hanger, you worthless cherries.
Are you scared?
Hell no, I'm gonna get me some gooks. You scared?
Well, maybe just a little.
Okay men saddle up, we don't have all day, get your asses on the birds.
The firebase is called Ripcord and Charlie wants it.
We're not going to give it to him.
We didn't give it to them; there was a price, it wasn't free.
Twenty-three days, Seventy-five men. NBC would say KIA.
They never mentioned the reason, don't ask questions.
Seven more months to go, monsoon rain, humping the bush.
Bangkok R & R. She was pretty. American G I number one.
Get your tired ass up front Smitty, you walk point today.
Bobby bought it walking point, scooped him up off the jungle floor.
Are you scared?
Yeah, I'm scared.
Keep an eye on Frankie, he got his letter, she ain't waiting no longer.
That sucks man, he really digs her.
Yeah well, this is Nam, and she's back in the world.
It still sucks.
I'm getting short, kinda makes me nervous.
You're gonna be okay dude, think of me when you're drinking that first beer.
Not old enough to buy a beer.
Twenty days to go and all I wanna do is hide.
You're walking point Johnson.
But I'm short sarge.
You're point Johnson.
How was it soldier?
She's blond and kind, but she looks older than she did a year ago.
Back in the world, I made it.
Hey buddy, how many babies did you kill over there?
Mom, I can't sleep, I don't know what to do; I thought I'd be glad to be home.
You're safe son, home, that's all that matters.
The black wall feels cold; I thought it would feel warm.
I guess death feels cold.
Specialist Frankie Gonzalez.
Trembling fingers slowly trace each letter.
Sorry Frankie, I miss you man.

War Poetry Contest contest entry

Author Notes
New guys in Vietnam were called cherries.
Firebase Ripcord was held by the 101st. Airborne Division. It was overrun by NVA soldiers after a 23 day siege. 75 American soldiers were killed.
Many single soldiers went to Bangkok for a weeks Rest and Relaxation.
You could call yourself "short" when you had less than 100 days to serve in Vietnam.
The babies killed comment was frequently yelled at returning VN vets.
The black wall is a reference to the VN Memorial Wall in Washington DC.

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© Copyright 2016. David R. Davis All rights reserved.
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