Search and Destroy
by Gary Jacobson © 1999

anicandle2 Moving into jungled shadow
Fateful darkness surrounds
Softly ensconced
Awaiting death
In bucolic tangle concealed
Everywhere endless
Forested columns hunger
To devour youth’s innocence
anicandle2 Sergeants silently cajoling
Quiet lest the jungle heard
In words softly entwined
Keep’m swing’n girls
I’m not your mother
Just move one damned foot
Front of the other
Nam’s wearied shuffle
anicandle2 A whispered smile
From beleaguered combatants
Stepping into carpeted green
Breaking tension
Stark fear stifling
Jokes fell flat
Lost in darkning thoughts
Of dying like erstwhile companions.
anicandle2 Negotiating hell and shadow
Mid belligerent obsidian jungle
Darkning cracks beaming light
Did that bush move?
Endlessly feeling following death
What’s behind that tree?
Cautiously feeling its hot breath.
anicandle2 Stealthily amid snarls creeping
Feel the blood seeping
Rivers of sweat stream
Down pale ashen faces
Below camouflaged grime
My God.
Is Hell this hot?
anicandle2 Just boys next door
Gung-ho naive
Now men spread on a firing line
Slinking single file through
Labyrinths of tares
Don’t let one round
Get you all.
anicandle2 Look up
There’s snipers in the trees
Look down
A booby-trap’s in the ground
Blow you to smithereens
Like my good buddy Jim
His leg in a boot
All we found
anicandle2 Found little pieces of Jim scattered
Across punji stake fields
Bamboo spears dipped in shit
To cut you
Bring fever of war
To war without cadence
No rhyme nor reason.
anicandle2 Vietnam‘s different
Than more civilized wars
No front nor rear here
Here abiding death’s constancy
Harboring malevolent
Irrepressible fear
Boys fading in jaded stupor.
anicandle2 Picking leaches
Off tough sunburned hides.
Tending jungle rot
Waiting for the end
To find you
Laughing as in a game
At the junction of life
Numb unto death.
anicandle2 Making memories for life
Succumb to Nam’s nothingness
Fortify ambivalent courage.
Glory long gone
To the rear echelon
Fighting a futile cause
Not allowed to win
Blood letting green jungle turning red.
anicandle2 Fighting on rock and rill hills
Achieving costly victory
After countless brave actions
Abandoning our spoils
Let Vietcong back in
So we can take it again.
Again and again
Do-se-do promenade.
anicandle2 Men can survive their wars
Arising from jungle heat
Quicksilver unpredictable
March on with no reason why
Back and forth in the jungle
Shedding mortality
Violently deposing
A brother-in-arms normality.
anicandle2 Yes, Men can survive their wars
But not what they leave inside
Brave tortured souls
Its horrors hide
Tendrils of troubadours shoot
Up to eternity.

When I Was A Child
by Gary Jacobson © 1999
anicandle2 When I was a child
I spake as a child.
I thought life was forever,
Like a child.
I saw the world
Through rose colored glasses of a child.
But when the war came,
I put away childish things...

Through the eyes of a child...
I saw nothing in this world
Not meek and mild
Knowing not of a world
Where glory had not smiled
Where spiteful contentions were hurled
In angered contentions riled
Where men so hated,
Us versus the world fated.

So when I was told my daddy's gone fighting
Fighting in war far, far and away
Freedoms preserving,
For me in battle’s fray
Preserving sweet songs of liberty,
Far, far and away
For me...
I knew only...
Daddy was not by my side today.

A lonely tear I childishly shed
Trying to remember all the words,
Daddy loving me said.
Oh I do want to remember,
Rubbing my eyes red.
I cried at night in bed
Because he could not tell me stories
Shaking his great head,
Comforting in laughter rocking,
Again beside my bed.

I cried when by my side,
Daddy could not stay
To hug away boyish tears that hide
In that special daddy way.
Daddy could not chase away the fears
Nor kiss away hurting tears
On my cherub cheek
That in profusion lay,
In games of hide and seek
Kissing them away.

Daddy called me his little man
Calling me his special sunshine ray,
Spent loving hours talking to me man-to-man...
In splendorific joy's array,
Helping me life’s plan to understand
Each day
Until he went far, far and away.
They say my daddy killed monsters and dragons,
Like those hiding under my bed lay
Loving me, still loving me,
Childish fears his daddy strength would allay
Loving me, still loving me,
Come what may.

The boy next door
Said my daddy’s in harm’s way,
Killing monsters far and away...
Far and away across the sea,
Far and beyond where I could see.
Daddy spent his days in a man's gunplay.
I hope in the worst way
Childish of the ways of war naive
My daddy would come home soon to stay
Pretend again in fairies to believe.

But it was not to be!
Now daddy’s on some wall far away,
Mama says daddy can no longer with me play.
A world of cares suddenly heavy
Now heavy upon me lay,
Though still a child, for my daddy I long.
Daddy can no longer wipe my tears away,
I must now be strong
As angels for me sing a sorrowful song.

No longer
Can daddy talk man-to-man to me...
No longer
Can he kill monsters under my bed...
For me...
I’m not ready but now I must
Be the man daddy would want me to be.

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