Robin Amy Bass

August 26, 2004, 0400 hrs

Why do I keep waking up at this time?
Why do you jump in my mind?
Thinking about what you told me – I sigh
Why did you leave this behind?

Four in the morning – most people can snore.
These days I toss and I turn
Or I wake up with a start and stare.
I feel a chill then a burn.

Turn to discover a hole in the bed
Guess you are not sleeping too
Out in the living room – staring ahead
I guess the War’s haunting you

Part of it’s here – and you point to your head
Memories drifting at large
Most of it’s there – and I point to your heart
Memories you cannot dodge.

You have name for these cold sleepless nights
You say a Nam Night is cruel
And on these nights I must just let you be
You tell me every thing’s cool.

Next to your bed there are thousands of pills
Should you awake with a chill
Night mares of jungles unscheduled appear
Thoughts you must kill with a pill.

You speak of Brothers who have it much worse.
You have returned – so you say.
But I wake up in the still of the night
Think that you still are away

Why do you keep waking up at this time?
You say that you rarely sleep.
Say PTSD is just filling you up.
All to yourself – you must keep

Four in the morning and I sleep alone
You’re with your Mistress – I know
PTSD is expensive to keep.
She puts on one hell of a show.

She dresses up in camouflage suit.
And she adjusts to the season.
Quality time as you point to the door
You sleep alone for a reason.

You call it stress, with an arch of your brow.
You say that you’re feeling weary.
I nod my head as I look at the clock
Well it’s one hell of a theory.

Yes this is my Veteran’s theory.
Guys from the war – they show symptoms, you say.
“I’ve got to learn to relax.
Some guys get sick – when they get to my age
Sorry – But those are the facts.

It is no picnic – But neither was Nam”
Sometimes you run out of steam
You have a list of the steps you should take
You can not schedule a dream.

Guys in the Crouch – well the ones who came back
Some times they start to get sick
You try to mask every cough with a smile -
You think that you’re pretty slick

I offer cures that are childish –sometimes
I have my own kind of scheme
Offer myself – but you just turn away
This can’t be fixed with ice cream

Four in the morning and I’m wide awake.
This time I see you’re asleep
Pill vial is empty it lies on its side.
Good! -You will not hear me weep.

Why do I keep waking up at this time?
Rhetorical question – It’s true.
Answers elusive – I sift and I strain
I just don’t know what to do.

Six in the morning – a street light goes out.
Cracks of the dawn peaking through
Slowly it’s creeping – So let there be light
I drift off dreaming of you!

Author’s Note: I never had any trouble sleeping at night until I met Ben 20 years ago and now I have a 6th sense when it comes to Ben. When he awakes in the middle of the night – so do I. It happened to me 20 years ago, and it started again several years ago as we renewed our friendship.

Now I know it’s the PTSD!

Because it happens a lot – I have stopped panicking. I have gotten used to it.

I don’t have to be at his place for this to happen. We maintain separate residences and I often wake up at my place – knowing that he is having a troublesome night. I don’t call him – I know he would call me if he wanted to talk. But – I still have to do something since I am awake! The last time it happened I wrote this poem.