BACK THEN by A.D. Winans

Intelligence never got much further
than downtown Saigon
or a short trip to Da Nang
most of us were in the states
doing our best to keep the world
safe from the Commie hordes
I remember one time interviewing
a young marine
a victim of the “Tet” offensive
he talked about  throwing Cong
out of helicopters after interrogations
claimed the nightmares kept him sleepless
kept seeing all those faces
in on between the walls
said a buddy of his had sent
home drugs concealed inside
body bags
but no one believed him
tiny pieces of flesh hitting
him in the face
blood between what was left
of his chewed down fingernails
and fragging a Lieutenant
kept haunting him
Intelligence said
he couldn’t be trusted
he was either a basket case
or perhaps just wanted out
of the military
so they gave him a three-day pass
just to play it safe
and made an appointment for him
to see a V.A. shrink
not surprised when
he didn’t show up
a week later
they discovered his body
down by the Beach Chalet
behind a forgotten old
WW 11 bunker
the bullet lodged in his head
no bigger than
the guilt he left behind

3 Responses to “BACK THEN by A.D. Winans”

  1. This poem brings tears, Al. I heard about those same incidences from my brother in law. He smuggled three years of dope out in innovative ways, too. And yes, that guilt after….Thanks for writing this!

  2. a brilliant poem by a legend.

  3. great poem AD. I love all yr poems that aren’t about John Wayne. 😉

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