Gary Jacobson


See into the eyes of the man
Come from verdant Vietnam
Who’s seen too much
Done too much
Suffered trials too much
Pushed too far from the common man’s touch
Trying to find
That ever elusive peace of mind…

Look into his blank eyes hollowed deep
Look where darkened horrors buried inside keep
Understand secrets feeble man cannot reconcile
In the end surviving life no longer a feat agile
Strength, imagination, deeds of courage, too fragile
Remember a war long past
Forcing him to grow up too fast
Remember unlucky brothers that hadn’t long to last.

This veteran has outflanked life’s true meaning
Outlived combat brothers yet grieving…
No longer will inherit our nation’s richness
Wide eyes lost, bleeding in his heart its essence
Deadened, captured in evil’s torturous past
Numbly unable to focus on a present cast
Everywhere he looks, he sees fiendish horror profound
Sensory overload in nebulous existence bound.

It’s so hard to keep caring
A troubled world to keep on surviving…
Hiding from Hell’s remembering
Fears forevermore recurring
The loss of brothers plays on his mind
Painful memories rack his being unkind
Burned out scenes every night he sees…
Flashing back as snipers in the trees…

Reliving over and over and over incessant battle
Dead men in his eyes buried with a bottle…
Trying hard to drown that awful year
That will-not-go-away fear
Voices repeating wheedlings encaging his mind cajole
Battle sounds constantly eating at his tortured soul
Disenfranchised, still fighting Nam’s fiercest battles
Misunderstood by life that daily his life belittles…

He can lose himself in the city
Uncomfortable with pity
Surviving the past, dragged into the present
Treated like he speaks with a foreign accent
Carrying hopelessness no one can understand
Who’s not fought beside him in battle ever comprehend
So out of step, so out of rhyme, listlessly he wanders
Just another bothersome obstacle to bystanders…

His eyes reveal beastly memories he tries to hide
Something savagely, forever broken inside.
In them a barbarian making passers by uncomfortable
Solemn reminder of their own lives precariously unstable
How easily traveled the journey from acceptable
Guilt rising in those who didn’t answer the call accountable
To what his wearied eyes have seen
What in graveyards of his fragile mind clashing careen.

His eyes reveal too much his tormented horror
Burned out by too intense patriotic fervor
Brutish war’s savior now turned destitute survivor
All meaning in downcast destitution lost
Tempests tossed by killing, core value’s accost
Can anyone tally the cost
Of a man
Who’s forever lost his way from Vietnam?

Can anyone see what his pain racked eyes have seen
By war opened wide to perturb gentle life serene
Devoid of happiness that curses the obscene
Living in a blind alley with senses too acutely keen
Plagued by overloading memories prevailing
Eternally castigating
Aggravating calm waters of boyhood agitating
Callously hiding from carefree life utterly destroying…

Distant eyes cannot forget that devastating toll
Untenable memories permeate a beleaguered soul
Imprisoned by life’s gambled dice roll crucify
Lost the boy, not yet found the man, his existence falsify
Dejected by realities awareness omnipresent from Vietnam
Praying for blessed, escaping release to sweet oblivion
Released from an abrasive world to sensitivity abusive
His feral soul returned to the primitive