Gary Jacobson


I’m out in the killing zone on ambush patrol
Trying hard to keep together body and soul
Trying to preserve life’s last breath
Midst this culture of death
We laid an L-shape ambush across well traveled trail
To catch a surreptitious enemy under moon pearly pale.

In last vestiges of stealthy light frail
Under prearranged coordinates semi-dark veil
Rigging claymore mines and trip-flares on a dusty trail
Then comes the lonely night of a thousand eyes
To catch dusky Viet Cong moving supplies.
Stay awake now, wait for your fate
Nothing to do but patiently wait.

Listen to the tedious time passing unkind
Hear caustic movement’s imagined in fevered mind
Wait… listen to the dreadful night
Wait. Who can sleep, filled with such fright.
See angry VC behind every tree
Knowing they’re coming to kill me…

The monotony bides overpowering
The forced silence heightened senses dulling
Holding sweet breath steely steady
Stroking grenades laid out for action ready
Listening as the combat radio gives coded clicks
Muscles spasm’s cramping painful cricks.

I almost forgot… today’s Mother’s Day!
Mother loved deep yellow daffodils bright sunny ray
I wish I could bring them to her
I wish I could hug her…
She who gave me very life
Watches over me now through Nam’s strife.

Tears streak my eye for my beloved mother
Who loves me like no other
Even now, her spirit’s beside me
Guiding me
For with all her heart my mother loves me.
I know mother’s pure heart wept for me.

My mother taught me right from wrong
My mother’s love now keeps me strong.
Mother always laughed tenderly
Always loved patiently
She most loved to sing
Loved the rebirth of spring.

Clouds of darkness fall like a cloak on the Nam
Only the buzz of mosquitoes breaking monotonous calm
Out in the boonies disdaining repellents
For Charlie knows well what odious smell presents
Hovering in sweet-and-sour air odoriferous
Telling Charlie we’re waiting deadly pernicious.

Lying in silent ambush in a prone foxhole,
Silently waiting – prepared to eradicate his soul.
Tonight we have no defenses for swarms making us bleed
So tonight the mosquitoes feed
Suddenly I hear them coming…
Tire-tread sandals down the trail running.

Silently an adrenalin dump my warrior angst bares
Through me my primal scream tears
I finger the claymore mine clicker
Check the double stacked M-16 clips taped together
Boredom sets in as I bore into jungle darkness
Thoughts of the world drifting through my innocence.

Falling, falling down a clouded chamber
Falling to the rim of slumber
Cobwebs catch me drifting.
Their fibers my dreams grabbing…
Clinging to gossamer wings lifting…
To dreams of mother. How I love her…

To the heart and breadth of me I dearly love her
How I miss her… how I need her…
Her sweet caress brings the nearness of her…
To the heart of unconditional love my mother gave me…
But more…
She held sacred faith in me.

For I was the sun that rose in her sky
The apple of her sweet loving eye
The subject of her fondest caring
Her very reason for being…
In partnership with Godly Divinity
Sharing with me loves serenity.

Suddenly movements become real
Surreal with quickened gloom funereal
Comes heart-sickening clamor
Loud pounding with all the gentleness of a hammer
Violently frightened sound awakening
Armed men on the path in front moving…

Dusky marauders trip the flare’s wire
Lighting up the night with unholy fire
Running frenetically, yelling ferociously
Alien tongues scream frantically
Darting mid frenzied shadows crazy…
My fragile heart firing wildly…

Three claymores detonate hellish night blowing
Into everything in front of them tearing
M-16s rake the jungle on devilish rock ‘n roll
M-60s spreading their deadly toll
Darkness suddenly colorful alive with deadly tracer
Lighting the gloom with bitter rancor…

Hazy ghost-like figures of the night
Seen trying to escape this warrior’s carnage blight.
Through fog and fire rat-a-tat-tat ringing
Explosives deafening
Then it’s over… and I wait patiently for the day
To go out and look upon the battle’s fray…

Oh God… Cordite smoke still burning my eyes
As I assess the victor’s prize
To see what violence has wrought
What toil and foul tempest bought
Oh mother, I’m totally numbed by the deed
Still unable to fathom war’s planted seed.