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

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

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

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

and handshakes,
and fistfights,
caresses bought and sold.

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

is beautiful;
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.

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

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

The pulsing rotors
keep me alive,
they are my
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.

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

has wings,
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.

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?


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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