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War is a defiant affront to sensibilities born in gentility
to boys raised to respect and love the good life.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
known simply as ptsd by its sufferers,
is an insidious residual of war
buried deep in the hearts and minds of those that survive it...
impacting their forever!
Hopefully this poem will give an understanding to the Hell
many veterans cope with in their daily lives...

Marine with incoming shelling, Con Thien Marines at Chu Lai '65 Marines at Hue '68

by Gary Jacobson © 2001
Marines at Khe Sahn Lunch time for Quang Tri Marines

On the dark, soft shoulder of night
I come again calling
I bring a dram of violence in memorial spite,
Of renewed anger in hate spawning
Cataclysmic seed planted in long ago fight

A dollop of truth mixed with your favorite fears
Between here, and there
A malicious fear crashing across light years
Primal screams splitting the air.
Again I take you forlorn into that jungle sweating
Filled again with deep despair

Feel my coming
Destroying you mentally, spiritually, socially
Like a flood over you pouring
My memories sing
Again sensing with uncanny way of knowing
How I relish the physical pain I bring
In trials of body and spirit
You’re alone without reprieve or respite.

My warring spirit cuts the heads
Off the flowers of sprightful youth,
Impaling hearts of those but kids
Who go forth to fight in my battles uncouth!

How happy I am to see you once more abandoned
Feeling again bestial urges procreated
Hating everybody, yourself most of all
Again short of breath depressed
Moments before battle’s pall

Relive now the unthinkable degradation
Face the horror once more without deviation
Bury deep inside assaulting confusions.
Feel again rising anticipation of killing’s illusions.

Feel war's bloodied frenzy boiling in your brain
Feel the soulless fright of long ago despairing
Like restless spirits rising guilt’s refrain
In sensitivities killed dead and dying

Feel again the moment you have killed
Feel the blood on your hands you’ve spilled
Poking an eternal hole through your heart
Remember how you emptily joked of death
Hoping if you joked about deaths part
It would not come...but never fear
I am here!
I’m always near!
I will not forsake you as others have!
I will not let you so soon forget that year!

No, you have not escaped me American soldier
I harangue you still with scattered senses
In dreams bolder
That abed in rest you ponder
I penetrate your wearied defenses
Revive relentless spirits in you restless
Keeping you sleepless

Awakening to sounds of a machine guns clatter
Its sickening thumping splattering human remains
See it...relive it, does this now still matter
Remember with venomous refrains
Whomp whomp whomp of helicopter chatter

My trauma comes into the dead of night grinding
Carried into the thickness of pain
My job to do the killing
Walking so softly in monsoon rain

My consuming anguish destroys you mentally
Suddenly embroiled in raucous cacophony
So as not to wake the dead
Assuage culminating
Of war's foul dread.

Dream your sweet dreams
Try to forget Nam’s incessant toxicology
Consorting with the demon of schemes
Mitigate war’s vicious abnormality

Pressing to futile irritability
I scream till you can’t think clearly
Everybody around making life uncomfortable
But don't worry, I’ll always be there
Ever reminding you of that vacant chair
You really should have sat there...

Every night I'll show you the empty eyes
Discover again your gut shot brother
I'll make you look deep into the eyes
Of his fatherless child
Look into tearful eyes
Of his young bride...
O no, you cannot hide...

Think back on war’s vicious anomaly
Where more than ever before in life history
Those loved dearest
Bide away from you farthest,
While specters of death hover ever more nearest.

Feel now that familiar tingling up your spine.
Feel taut knots impatiently forming in your gut.
In your bed in prone ambush lying supine
In cutthroat night relive freedom’s juggernaut.

Feel coiled springs inside me
Still begging for release
Violence boiling in me
Stored there to remember evermore without peace
Come rushing adrenaline
Across light years that will not their terror's cease
Living from then to now maudlin.

Still you're every night fighting
Across Satan’s fetid turf churning
Into voracious jaws of death's maw mouthing
Still every night waking
Remembering still the killing

Still in dreams see the dead
Blood running into eyes thick and red
Life shattered by horns that still gore
Still cursing barbaric war’s carnivore
Still both God and devil imploring
Still Hell on earth enduring.

What great loyalty you have for me.
I don’t have to kill you dead
To have you join me
Because by all appearances you’re already dead
You're killing yourself daily
Living with atrocity that war in you bred
I'm more important to you obviously,
Than friends with all their loving
I’ve taken over your life bullishly,
I’m the first thing you wake up to every morning.
Robbed of will to do anything about it, candidly.

I journey with you through wretched life abysmally
Riding choppers to the end of your thousand yard stare
Back to where life treated you so abusively
Ever going in memory back there
In life lived painfully
Still looking for answers back there

You find pleasure in the mire wallowing
Ever looking for meaning
In gutters metaphorically
Day to day living In past memory abhorrently.

You cannot escape
Coping with this pall over you I drape...
I’m with you day and night
Ever part of your mind's landscape
Renewing war's ingrained bite...

We drink together my brother, till you pass out
Feeling sorry for yourself inherently,
Just a burned out boyscout
By the very ones you served outcast abjectly

Long ago in a land called Vietnam
I first got ahold of you to make life accurst
Bore into your inner being my ticking time bomb
Perpetuating the dream of innocence burst
Permeating your soul from that time on....
Destroying on, and on, and on...

You can never have enough guilt,
Shaking with icy cold sweat
I've a monster in you built
You can never pay my debt
Jailed, insane, lost in another institution
Trying for what you've done to make restitution

Of my insidious hold you’ll never be free...
Bound to go through life pathetically.
Unproductive, barren, unbearably
Sacrificing jobs, friends, loved me!
Forever mine for all time you see
You belong to me unalterably
I'm your very own PTSD!
Won’t you come again and talk to me?
Marines at Mutter Ridge Marines at Mutter Ridge

Closed Doors
by Gary Jacobson © 2001

Soul so weary
Tossed, lost, and oh so dreary
Dead-eyed bleary
Coming back from the fighting
Almost dying
In Vietnam war tumultuous
Lost along the way my innocence
All in my life held virtuous
Misplaced sacred values in the tempest forlorn
Gone the faith I based my life on
Disoriented, the best of me cut'n shorn
Spirit misused
By the sleight of "the man"
The cunning craftiness of his hatred plan
Fighting for survival in a beleaguered land
What a high price for your freedom we paid
Still looking for redemption
Trying to make the hate to loving transition
Trying to mask the killer in Nam I'd become
In my year of the gun
Under the blistering, hot, Vietnamese sun...

I knocked at your door
I think I know you from before
Please let me in I implore
Just come from riding a hateful beast called war
Give my impoverished soul relief
Give me succor to restore my belief
Lift up my faith in my fellow man
Help me again to understand
Comfort my soul
Lift me out of this contentious hole
Show the way again to trust
Lead me
Guide me
Walk beside me
I will try your sensibilities not to disgust
For I am a child again you see
Needing refreshing food and drink
For to rebuild the tarnished soul
My humanities death on the brink
Misplaced my life’s goal...
Are you there,
Are you there,
I cry in the silence
Save me I pray from this castigated violence...

But I saw and heard nothing from you...
But Closed doors!

Combat Infantry Badge Click the Combat Infantry Badge
to Visit my Vietnam Poems index,
each poem with more action
graphics and Pictures

VIETNAM PICTURE TOUR from the lens of a combat infantryman
Through pictures and poetry take a walk in "the park" with the 1st Air Cavalry on combat patrol. Experience the chilling reality that will give you the taste of "the Nam" on your tongue, leave the pungent smell of "the Nam" in your nostrils, and imbed textures of "the Nam" in your brain as though you were walking beside me in combat.

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