Archive for viet nam

PURPLE HEARTS by Steve Gulvezan

Posted in Steve Gulvezan with tags , on September 1, 2013 by Scot

I knew three bozos
Who said they served in Vietnam
When they really hadn’t

Each made his claim
Long after the war ended
And hostility towards the real
Vietnam veterans had subsided
And America had grown somewhat sympathetic
To the ordeals of the survivors
Maimed though they may have been
Both mentally and physically

I was walking a nature trail
With bozo number one
When some kids set off a firecracker
From the foliage beside us
We both jumped a mile
But when we heard the kids laughing
And saw them lurking in the bushes
My buddy quickly recovered his equilibrium

“Damn it to hell,
You children—
When I heard that explosion
I had a flashback
To patrol duty
In the jungles of Phnom Penh—
I fought and nearly died
For our nation
And I have a Purple Heart
To prove it—
I want you to know
That what you just did
May have set my recovery
Back by a decade!”

Bozo number two
Enjoyed showing the young women
And old men
At his workplace
The scars on his legs
In the staff breakroom

He pulled up his trousers
Displaying legs disfigured
Many years before
By a pot of boiling coffee
Carelessly mishandled

“See these—
I stepped on a land mine
In ‘Nam in 1970—
Nearly lost both my legs
Fighting for my country
While you mothers—”

Here he gestured to the old men

“— Were lollygagging at home
With your student deferments
Protesting the war
Smoking dope
And banging the girls
That were rightfully mine!”

The third bozo
Almost died for his Purple Heart

He supervised a crew
Of raw company recruits
In the office mailroom
And enjoyed venting
His numerous frustrations
Upon them

He rode one shy and tongue-tied lad
Particularly hard
Though I warned him,
“You’d better take it easy
On that kid—
I heard he used to be
A golden gloves boxer”

“Golden gloves my ass,” he replied, “That punk
Is probably five feet and six inches
And one hundred and forty pounds—
I’m six foot three and two fifty—
Do you truly believe
He would ever dare
To mess with me?”

After work that day
This bozo earned the Purple Heart
Stories he would later tell
The hard way
Bright red blood
Gushing out of his nose, mouth and ears
And paralysis
From a vicious temple punch
As he was going down
Already beginning to set in
On the left side of his body…

Soldier by Catfish McDaris

Posted in Catfish McDaris with tags on April 10, 2011 by Scot

A few stars hung overhead like nail holes in a black wall. Soldier looked up and continued walking at a brisk pace toward the barely discernable tracks. His part in the war was always following warily a few feet behind. He was once an elite shadow of a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. Chained dogs roamed in the yards of slumbering humanity, growling at the gates of hell. He needed to fight again, to kill to prove himself worthy. Some nights in the waning darkness, Soldier would recall the adrenalin abyss whisper rush, orgasmic sweat soaking his body. Uncontrollable dreams of clean kills and remorselessness stirred an inferno in his loins. Looking around, Soldier saw graveyard emptiness, his heart leaped green mountains of verdure.It had been over twenty five years since he last tasted the exhilaration of a human hunt. The evocation of his demons freed and condemned him at the same time. The tracks beckoned him. He carried his cross every time his eyelids closed, every step he took. Soldier crawled through the underbrush into a distant time. He was miles into Laos, behind enemy lines. Ahead dressed in tan, the uniform of an officer, his target leaned against a thick stand of bamboo, weapon out of reach. Soldier’s knife came alive in his fist. He became a dervish of death. Four humans lay staring in carnage at the jungle canopy with lifeless eyes. The stench of blood filled his nostrils, his mouth stretched in an unholy smile. There was no memory of the three men. The woman officer was like a horror movie, he saw his right hand yank her head back, his left draw the blade in an arc across her soft throat. Her head dangled from a flap, death gurgled crimson onto the jungle floor. Her body slumped , her cap askew, long blue black hair blossomed free like a waterfall at midnight. Soldier stood over her and studied her face. Even death could not remove or erase her beauty. Dark almond eyes stared at him questioningly, accusingly, his tortured soul screamed, he knelt beside her. In a different world he might have been a young man proposing marriage. He raised her tiny exquisite hands to his lips, tears spilled a turmoil of hate and love. Soldier heard voices.“Hey mister, have you got a cigarette?” a girl asked. He looked in the direction of the voice, he was back.Two lovely ladies were looking at him inquisitively. Soldier offered them two of his smokes. They lit up, their lipstick bright on the filters.“Some men are after us, can you help us? We need a place to hide.” He looked deep into their eyes. “Follow me. We’ll take the side streets.” One of them took his hand and rubbed it against her cheek. The other kissed him on the forehead. Soldier felt the taste of blood inside his mouth. He reached inside his jacket for his knife, where it had lain like a scar for too many years.