R.M. “Cook” Barela

The Demons of War: Part 4

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: September 12, 2004
Awarded: September 12, 2004
The warrior returns to the War Zone where he first faced death, and finds his old friend. In honor of the pain we’ve shared together as warriors. This poem is dedicated to those who have tasted the scent of death’s indiscretion.

I have slept and ate with her at my side
Dreamed of the shadow of darkness as my bride
I’ve known the scent of her indiscretion
Sought her bed and darkened mansion

I’ve often searched for her all night
To sing and dance in the twilight
I found her presence in the shadows of war
Where friendship, kindness and love does grow

I knew her cousins: pain, agony, suffering and shame
When she came by, I called her name
She learned fear from my lips that night
Trembled when I kissed and held her tight
I laughed at her pale nakedness
And unveiled the power of her weak caress

She wept like a widow without a song
The night I stripped her of dignity
Seized her shadow and wickedness
And found delight in the sour taste
From the milk of her hollowed breasts
Then I slept within her grave
To give my soul the rest it craved

She cried out in pain that night
As demons from Hell began their flight
They feared the hands of souls I set free
The day death became a part of me

She feared and trembled and ran away
The day the dogs of war came out to play
The day God turned into night
When gun barrels melted at his sight
The horrors of war crawled out Hell’s door
Her warriors would live no more

I fed her that day with blood-soaked hands
Touched and caressed that foreign land
Purchased the black mantle that gave her fame
When demons on little green tracers called my name
But, I laughed at them as they went by
Anger and hatred at my side

Plants and animals, spirits and souls
Nothing was sacred, nothing was spared
I took their lives with vengeance all mine
And laughed with God for being so kind

On their dogtags I carved my name
The moon with dark clouds covered the shame
This world of Hell had become my own
When the smell of hot blood mingled with my soul
Angels wept and would sing no more
When death was forced to endure my wrong
I sat silent, singing my song

She left hurriedly, in pain and misery
When I leaned over and whispered in her ear
“O death, where is your sting and victory?”

Then, she sent her dark angels to play with my mind
But I knew them as well, and wasn’t so kind
As they spoke, I slit their throats
Wrapped their thorns in the shadows of a moonless night
When she stepped on them she cried at the sight

Now, she dares not come to me
Silent, secret or on her knees
Fears next time I will not let her go
And death on earth will be no more

I left her there, in the jungles of Nam
In the tall trees by the sea
In rice paddies full of blood
In hooches absent of love