|I'm just a soldier. A lonely soldier|
My countries brave future warrior
Combating hours of sheer boredom drilled
Punctuated by moments of sheer trepidation filled
Comrades combating dangerous evil
Infantrymen dancing with the devil
Under the pale moonlight
Where the demons come out at night.
We're a band of Foxhole Brothers
Sharing war's allegiance with others
Different men from different walks of life
Strangers wagering our lives in Nam's strife
Strangers from different parts of the country
Strangers in a motley band of destiny
Sent by our countrymen to do the best we can do
Strangers bound as one, do or die for me and you.
We are Semper Fidelis sons of liberty
Forged together by bastions of democracy
Brother's tall, broad, and short
White, black, brown, red, yellow cohort
Just young boys on a big campout
Sent with patriotisms hue and shout
To the ancestral home of disenchantment
To rewrite the old soldier's song of abandonment.
The best of men... the worst of men
All bore humble vestiges of bravery
From far across the heartbreak Sea
Sent by our neighbors to kill
Or by an enemy's wrath be killed
Hiding war's rancid fear the spirit sear
Fetid on every bated breath
Fear of that bestial monster death.
These boys... these brothers... gave their all
To charge into the mouth of the monster's maw
Just ordinary men gone to war, like so many others before
Forged from homes all across our nation
Made from boys a fighting force creation
Winning a beaucoup sweet-and-sour memory
For God and country
Valiant men sent abroad to stand for liberty.
Soldiers are just ordinary Joes, farm boys and bakers
Businessmen, salesmen, construction workers...
Put their body in harm's way in defense of all
Through suffering gloom of battle's pall
Suffering hateful privations
Beaucoup trial by fire tribulations
Humping the boonies to keep us free
To win the righteous victory for you and me.
We're just boys caged within insight of dying
Seeking miracles with death all-round preoccupying
Fated forever to suffer beaucoup privations
Wearying afflictions manifest in sore illusions
Bearing a hearts predestinations sorely chafed
Peaceful thoughts pondering anger inflamed
Walking in footsteps of dusky men enraged
Dedicated to the precept of killing you engaged.
Sweat runs from boyish fevered brow's stressing
Violence omnipresent in devastation youth stealing
Incensed being's hammered indignant
Fetid evil in jungles repugnant
Unleashing vengeance vividly Post Traumatic
Death all round gory dramatic
Wearing an ireful cross of thorns
Caught on a devil's enraged horns...
The New Joisy Boy and the Wisconsin Tinman
The Wisconsin tinman's one hell of a fightin' man
A Green-Bay Packer aluminum bogyman
A good friend to brothers
A fiend to others
His cherubic cheeks belie the danger in his fists
His jolly countenance on bringing the hurt insists.
The New Joisy boy's a mailman that delivers
Seeming unabashed by war's dangers
This tall blond drink of water
Not phased by war's anger
Standing tall in battle's rigor
Handling combat chores with vigor.
Both came to the Nam sleep-overs
To give the Cong the M-60 shivers
Determined to defend the rights of man
Doing their conscientious duty in Vietnam.
The Smoky Mountain Boy
He came from the Great Smoky Mountains
Where simple life on a simple boy ingrains
Verdant mountain green and smoky haze
Far from the big city craze
Where the master on high's good life ordains
Born in ranges never knowing stress or strains
This blue ridge mountain boy
Knowing no fear to hurt or annoy
Till the Nam...
This Shenandoah whelp
Never needed nobody's help
Feeling on his skin gentle Appalachian rains
Scouting Blue Ridge valleys and verdant plains
His gun bore as an appendage
With right handy Kaintuck windage
Stalking rabbit and deer
Far and near
Hunting squirrels to grace his ma's frying pan
But he never killed a man...
Till the Nam...
He became hard and lean and mean
The fiercest fighting machine the Nam's ever seen
Sobered by battle's killing surprise
Hard flint glinting in sunburned eyes
Granite cankered in a heart that slowly dies
Engorged by the blood's fevered heat withered
His soul by fear-drawn anger and death jaded
With danger engorged to which he's no stranger
Not trusting no one, cause that Shenandoah whelp.
He never needed nobody's help...
Till forever changed by the Nam...
The boy from Tuscaloosa
Locked at the Hip to a Boy from Jackson County
Golden haired sons of the south
Honey dripping in every word from their mouth
The barefoot rebel from Tuscaloosa
On rising banks of Alabama's Tallapoosa
Locked at the hip to boy from Jackson County
Both speaking with drawling southern bounty
Hailing from a better time, that this time forgot
Gentler times by antebellum winds wrought
Bearing a patriot's distinctive red-neck
Hold down deep convictions, by heck...
Southern boys have down-to-earth values
Healthy dollops of bread-and-butter ethics
Bearing a dainty morsel of southern-fried morals
Convictions worn on their shirtsleeves strong
Patriots, true as the day is long
Loyal, dependable, ever faithful
To the good life that bore them grateful
Good men to have beside you in a foxhole
Hope hanging in that life-and-death bowl
Fate on the string of a chicken-fried soul.
The Texas Blue-Chipper
The Texas blue-chipper
Loved the thrilling life of the Gipper
Just a longhorn football bebopper
Making touchdowns with ease all the time
Three yards and a cloud of dust through the line
Knocking opponents to their knees
With the greatest of ease...
With only a little grime and sweat
He loved the good life, you bet
The parties. The girls. With those pretty little curls.
The Texas blue-chipper
Loved being courted by a rich alumni backslapper
Who told him he's the king of the world
The greatest thing since sliced bread unfurled
Everybody knew his name
Riding the crest of a football hero's fame
This boy whose daddy was a sharecropper
Now no longer a country bumpkin clodhopper
Truly loved being the big man on campus
The lights. The action. The ruckus
So big ... so strong
A man-mountain who knew he'd belong
With his patriotism in his head all along
Singing liberty's song, he answered the call
Knowing he'd soon whup them all
Show those bad-guys making such a fuss
They'd better reckon with us...
But then ... in a firefight ... he simply died
Shot mistakenly by guys on our side
Laid in blood and guts and dust his pride
No parades. No fanfare. Only his mother cried
The Okie from Muskogee
A strapping Arkansas River boy
His sweet mother's pride and joy
Simple pleasures of rich black earth
Known from the days of his birth
Supernal peace there especially sweet
On Oklahoma plains of waving wheat.
Peace rose in the flaming Oklahoma sunrise
Working this earth's bounty his sacred prize
Finding deep serenity in the crop-cycle of rebirth
Receiving God's greatest blessings of celestial worth.
The Okie from Muskogee
Sent afar from home, hearth and family.
He was with mother-earth one
Working hard out under the harvest sun
Cherishing his Ozark spirit's divine nature
Astride his John Deere tractor
Spending many a good day
Sacred in every way.
He tilled his fields till the work was done
Sweating under God's own sun.
Till that rueful day Uncle Sam
The man what am
Handed him a man-killing gun
From which he couldn't run...
He had only just learned to live
This war's voluntary captive
Only knowing the good life before bloody war
He'd only hunted for the supper pot afore
Then he learned to kill
Before those wanting him to kill...
He killed to preserve the crop his parents sow
To preserve the green fields of his boyhood meadow
Yet he learned to fear war's grim undertow
That in his Okie heart did malignant grow
Following him home in ever-present shadow
Seeing in every dusky man a malignant foe.
Indeed, friendships are priceless
Born on the plains of innocence
Fast, tight friendships even cruel war will tend
Brothers bound together will never end
But also death will sometimes friendships rend
"It don't mean nuthin'" was the veteran ode
"Never forget" this man-of-war Okie's code.
Now he's afraid to go out in his field
Fearing the very shadows unhealed
Out where heat and wind on fragile mind congealed
Where deep love of the land did to great horror yield
Form flashbacks due to horror's ugly pain
To light up his fevered mind again ... and again!
War fed him a constant diet of danger
Boyhood's soul filled with raging anger
Finding hate there in every stranger
Fate laying in a tree-line berth
Death awaits war's costly dearth
Now he even pauses at the rich-black earth.
Beware of the once hallowed ground
Look up ... look down ... look all around
For death will reach up and bite you
To all life for the Okie eschew
Fear still the crack of a bullet's speed
Causing the shattered soul to slowly bleed.
Boy with the Perpetual Rocky Mountain High
His soul touched in his eighteenth year
O'er his rocky mountain elation dear
Rejoicing with innate life its deep celebration
Born in masterful creation
Where he'd seen rain with fire from the sky
Deeply loving his Rocky Mountain high lullaby
The joy of life abounding good
One with pristine rocky mountain brotherhood.
Patriotism fostered by eagles and twinkling stars
Creviced in rocky mountain sacred alters.
From purple mountain majesty he loved this land
Would for all its magnificence make a stand
Would liberty's hallowed precepts defend
Fight for abiding peace found under an azure blue sky
Hear mankind's destiny born in a wildflower's purest sigh
Waving solemnity in a wind so free
The inherent spirit of destiny that made him be
Freedom blowing mid flora and fauna profusions
Daily feeling of beatified illusions
Sacred in nature's eloquent effusions.
Heroic glory sung in his ear
Feeling reverential duty devoutly clear
He offered his staff of life so dear
Buried in the heart of foreboding fear
Shucking off trepidation's drear...
He packed up his gear
He answered his country's call-to-arms
Enlisted into Nam's vale of harms
He went across the sea
To be all that he could be.
The Nam, Rocky Mountain stars in his eyes replaced
By boys beside him by the blood defaced
Doing his duty with blood in his eye
Seeing too many good men die
Finding cruel war beyond what he expected
His worst nightmare resurrected
This war weary veteran turned inward to survival
Turned from war's macabre carnival
Life by masochistic trauma forever rearranged
His life boomeranged ... eternally changed.
Flowed in a brother's soul bloody real
Coursing molten white-hot in his veins
Forged tough with his countries pains
Cast strong in the iron-geared mills of war
Come to fight like his pappy did before.
Liquid fire burned in youthful Pittsburgh blood
Glowing white-hot in cankered mud
Cast in Nam's furnace his leathered hide
Forging successions of courage fighting sedition:
Men boldly charging into the heart of rebellion
Quelling many a blood-stained Insurrection.
Honoring a Grandpa who died as a generation cried
Bravely on Dunkirk's bloody shore
Alongside a thousand more
Starting a brave family tradition's chore
Honoring their fathers who died in World War I trenches
Gassed with the thirst that never quenches.
Now where deadly fear does forever's sear
He brings the hardness of Pittsburgh Steel here
To fight in a land that don't mean nuthin'
Slogging through hellfire's thick-and-thin
Beaucoup battles raging within
Fighting for what ... salvation to win?
Harsh in gung-ho being he quivered
A huge red bed of coals inside him blazed
Seething with intense molten fury
His whole life's purpose evil to bury
Dedication become obsession glowing in his eye
Ready in heart and mind to die...
Knowing not the question why?
The New York Playboy
The playboy from New York
A richly entitled dork
Oh the pretty girls he left behind
He would talk about them all the time
The cruel war put playboy ways in a bind
He laughed about the Sparkling-pale brew
That bubbly champagne dew
He drank from a countess's shoe
Flowing in his blue-blood through and through
His sh.., uh, er, defecation stew
Of course smelled better than yours do...
He didn't much like marchin'
Nor reveille before sunset risin'
He cared not a whit for his sandbag kitchen
He missed the diamond stud in his ear
Drinking blue ribbon beer
This real highfalutin mess
Didn't even know how himself to dress
Hadn't worked a single day in his life
Knowing naught of life's toil and strife
But he didn't die in battle the first day
Though some obscene to that end did pray
And he didn't die the second day
Then the third and the fourth day went their way
Till the bullet with his name on it went astray
He learned to keep his head low
With keening eye watch diligently for the foe
Looking up to the tree line and down to the ground
Looking wherever death's angel's likely to be found.
He learned to trust in his brothers ... like no others.
He learned a new humility
Till hectic life gained a veteran's stability
He had to ... he knew
For unyielding death can so very quickly undo
His pampered life eschew
For here in the twinkling of an eye
He could unceremoniously die...
Cruel death favored no one...
Death could ruin all his fun.
Fate's especially unkind to the fortunate high-born son.
He knew if he was to return across the pond
To, as a veteran from the Nam, abscond
He must become a good soldier ... a Christian warrior
That was the only way to survive
The only way he could come out alive.
For in war his very frail life depended
On his being a good soldier who defended
Watching his brother's backs, as they watched his.
He had to in combat brothers learn trust ... He must
Or end up so much dust ... primordial blood-soaked rust.
The Surfer Dude Well Met
The Valley Boy At War
The surfer dude
The valley boy to "the man" rude
Rode the waves, like, the blue moon
Gag me with a spoon
There is in the Nam no surfing life beyond
So, what ... you want me, over the briny pond...
See you never...
Dude, this cruel war is grody to the max
Totally, this big daddy war, like man, it Jacks
Hoppin' on "the man's" regs...
Stiff starched patriot square pegs
Patriot stuffed shirts need a brand new bag
Yet they come lookin' for me rag tag
I mean seriously, they're totally clueless.
Don't they know ... they're nowhere man?
�Specially in Unc' Sam's Vietnam.
No way there I want to go
Be-boppin' in some other cat's dojo
Rather stay where life is totally tubular
Gone Nova super-spectacular
Don't have nuthin' against no hep-cat named Charlie...
So, y'know, eat drink and be gnarly
For tomorrow you die
Don't need pie in the sky makin' me cry...
Totally rather ride down a breakin' wave
Than put my life on the line my country to save
It's my life, this diversity of culture, man
Don't need to go to no stinkin' Vietnam
That's �snaking' the �burn'
Rather �duck dive' then �paddle back to steal a turn.'
But here I am ... the man what am...
A real life nephew of my Uncle Sam.
So if I'm goin' to �pop up' on the board
Surf back to the world to earn my reward
Leave the Nam in my sunset
Man, the total horrors forget
Gotta �pump' up execution in this warrior's gig
Man, like, get with the evolution, �you dig'
After all, I ain't no socialite prig
Gotta get with the program, like, a big wig...
I'd best �fade fast' into this soldierin' life
Geeze Louise, I don't wanna lose my life
So �hang-five' and pass the ammo
Jes' don't go makin' me no hero...
Cause iffen I'm gonna make
That on-the-beach clambake
Like, make the scene of a big �re-entry'
Gotta make it with, like, the combat gentry.
Don't wanna test fate's karmic Kismet
�Cause tho I may be war's �grommet'
Hand me �at steel pot crash helmet
Cause don't wanna be no zombie
How do you say, a twink newbie
Don't want no �wipe-out'
So gotta watch out
For Nam's wave my life to �close-out'
|By Gary Jacobson|
Listed August 12, 2010
About Author... In 1966-67, Gary Jacobson served with B Co 2nd/7th 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam as a combat infantryman and is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Gary, who resides in Idaho writes stories he hopes are never forgotten, perhaps compelled by a Vietnamese legend that says, "All poets are full of silver threads that rise inside them as the moon grows large." So Gary says he writes because "It is that these silver threads are words poking at me � I must let them out. I must! I write for my brothers who cannot bear to talk of what they've seen and to educate those who haven't the foggiest idea about the effect that the horrors of war have on boys-next-door."
Visit Gary Jacobson's site for more information
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