In Paradise

A brief caution: this poem contains images that some may find disturbing. It is offered with love and hope; a prayer for understanding, and healing for all those who have been at war.
 

Another Day in Paradise

inspired by the memories of a Vietnam Veteran, R.I.P.

Deborah Beach Giordano
© March 8, 2010

Bright
exotic blooms
newly formed
their necks snapped
branches bleeding
a sticky sweet odor…

Rain,
rivers,
rice paddies,
constant heat,
endless damp,
mold and mildew
and pink gin.

Groans
grunts,
sly smiles,
snapping gum,
whispered warnings,
nervous laughter,
and cries that split the sky.

Salutes,
slaps
and handshakes,
punches,
jabs
and fistfights,
caresses bought and sold.

Villages
of warm and supple
dark-eyed maidens,
laughing children,
calm and watchful elders
and snipers
hidden in the trees.

Everything
is beautiful;
nothing
is as it seems.
Enemy fire,
friendly fire,
smoke ‘em
if you’ve got ‘em.

Melted chocolate
and knitted scarves;
words penned
a million miles away:
Honey, I love you;
Daddy, I miss you;
I’ve met someone else.

Songs
by drug addicts,
dirtbags
and deserters
wearing the Flag
sewn on their asses.

I’ve seen the dead
and they don’t look
grateful.
I’ve watched them die
and there is
no glory …
only blood.
So much blood.

The pulsing rotors
keep me alive,
they are my
heartbeat:
I am only the sound:
the face
that is never seen.

I am God
an angel
a demon –
looking upon mortals
as they run
towards death.

Absurd
and hopeless.
They cannot hide.
For I am the all-seeing,
who dwells
on High.

Death
has wings,
bullets,
mortar rounds,
rocket launchers.
And no conscience.

Following orders.
Doing what we have to do
to get home
in one piece.
It’s us
or them.

Survival
is the name
of the game
that I won
in that jungle
half a century ago.
So they say.

Shrill screams
awaken me;
I struggle
to breathe,
to be free,
to escape the battle
that still rages
inside my skull.

And I wonder:
Who won?

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About inklingscommunity

I am a struggling Christian, committed pacifist, near-obsessive recycler, incurable animal lover, inveterate tree-hugger; a nature mystic, a socialized introvert, an advocate for the vulnerable, an opponent of exploiters.
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