David R. “Poppa” Alexander

A DARK NIGHT

We were on an ambush patrol
And believe me it wasn’t cold
The night had an eerie feel
In the jungle of the Central Highlands nights are not real.

Finding the exact spot and sending in our location
Taking a nap becomes a great temptation.
We carefully and quietly put out the flares and claymores
And settle in on the jungle floor

Careful not to make a sound
‘cause Charlie is known to be around
Each man is tense and on edge
Waiting for Charlie to make good on his pledge

Through Intelligence, we knew he used this path
And knowing his strength we were outnumbered by simple math
We listened and waited, nerves on edge
Finding cover behind a jungle hedge

For hours we waited with nothing in site
As the jungle got too quiet
Each sound of the night made one jump with fright
And not one of us by now doubted we were in for a fight.

Just then we heard a terrible scream
Loud and piercing and someone was crossing the stream
Our minds soared and our eyes strained to see
Each of us breathing hard and ready for this shooting spree.

Ed punched me and I passed it along
And all of a sudden everything went wrong
All the flares went off and the perimeter was breached
Inside the circle the enemy had reached

When Ed was about to turn and shoot
As the intruder caught his eye, the point was moot
And his laughter could be heard for a mile
For the flare had lit the entire area and two gorillas stood there for a while.

They were just as scared as we had been
And all Ed could manage was a silly grin.
They turned and ran off into the night
We moved off a good distance and laughed but didn’t have to fight.

I’m sure some of us had to clean our pants a little bit
But I’m not too sure the gorillas had to do more than spit.
At times today, I laugh when I remember that night
When we were all ready for two gorillas to fight.