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In Country:

A Viet Nam Sequence

written by: Louis Dorwaldt

 

An eternity of days
Trekking and shivering

We trade dog tags
The boy and I
Each on his chest
The other wears
Each in his heart
The other beats

Humping the jungle
A nightmare in dreams
Follow the ridgeline

Soaking and chafing
Powerful madness assails
Slipping into dreams

Boys humping terror
Trek into fire-fights
Orchid blossoms daze

Fire-fights teach
What a moment is

AK-47s vie with M-16s
In an algebraic expression of violence
Each striving to factor first
The flesh called enemy

Punctuation marks
M-60s trace the night

Incoming and outgoing
Death finding the enemy

Green and red vie
Each contending the night

Squinting ambush eyes
Cool perfect murder

The heart of a song
A soldier's soul soaring

Tumble crash splash boom
Mumbling and weeping
Black blossoms blooming
A sucking chest wound

Flowering fragrance
An ambush of buzzing bees
Attacking colors

Kills become a rosary of faces
Like dew upon dandelions

Frightened into fire-fights
Eyes wide when left alive

Murder in the hands of boys
Squinting and singing

In the hands of boy-children
Playing a deadly game
Gunmetal blue eyes

Some of the boys
M-16s in hand smile
Photos home to mom

Some of the boys
Itch to squeeze triggers

Some of the boys
Scream when they shoot
Cry when shot

Just from playgrounds came
Most of the boys

Fatigues and blood
An eternity of days
In a land of tears

The slump of shoulders
Powerful madness
Slipping into dreams

Viet Nam erases
A soldier screams
Forever in dreams

It is only right
Wars into memories
Manacles of might
While dandelions bloom

Silence and darkness
Maple seeds chase each other
Across the dooryard

Rocking in memories
An old soldier sits at the window
Writing the end of his song
Following the ridgeline

Have you seen the Vet
Down from the mountains he came
Out of the jungles

Louis Dorwaldt

Louis Dorwaldt

A seventy-seven year old who survived the war, the turmoil of the late 1960s, early 1970s, and who taught mathematics for the Community College of Vermont for many years and is now retired with his wife in the middle of Wisconsin's dairy country.
Louis Dorwaldt

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