Gary Jacobson


Gary Jacobson: Ode to the DeadDevoid of thought
Devoid of reason fraught
Devoid of being
Cold awareness only feeling
Blown where I felt no despair
Suddenly, peacefully, suspended in air
Facing clouds serene, in a realm of nothingness,
Cloistered in the realm of peaceful caress
Neither alive but neither dead,
To blissful shores of Nirvana led
Filled with pure contentment hanging
In pure oblivion above the earth dangling.

There was no Vietnam
For this erstwhile American fighting phenom
Just solemn peace of mind.
Mind emptied and left blind
Complete this vacuum of thought
Pure thought in a young spirit wrought
So recently come from the hating killing
Camouflage chalk my brother’s faces painting
War weapon’s wielding powerful fists of suppression
Suppressive to teach ornery Cong a lesson
One of the war wolves ferocious pack
Bringing Vietnamese to their knees in bloodthirsty attack.

I knew not, nor cared not
Where I was, or why I’d been brought
I was just there… but where
Just floating, not wondering why
Not caring why I could so easily die
Hearing not my mother’s cry
Relaxed… listening as the angel’s sing
Rising into nothing,
Slowly, calmly,
Just a low groaning hiss, amid purest bliss,
Totally released from all care
Conscious of nothing, absorbed in everything there.

One with the firmament
Serene acknowledgment
Quiet the language
Pacify and assuage
Then come from something below
Someone below groaning so.
Something below nagging, disturbing my reverie
I turned to look but could not see
That something intruding on my senses,
Raising remaining hackles of my defenses
Sounding but for a fleeting moment drawn
Then it was gone.

Then, there it was again…
Disturbing my oblivion
Suspended calm in my abstraction
Someone groaning far below
Something but an annoyance would bestow
By time and space, removed from me
Apart from me, feeling strange curiosity
I was again in absolute, harmony
But the annoyance was gone
Like summer’s song
In peace I was again contented

Then again the sound intruded
Though its nature eluded
Curiosity exuded
A third time something disturbed me… something
Rattling intruding on my peace
Something that would not cease
That must gain release
I looked, but not all the way
Seeing nothing of which to say
Before returning to the sky to silently pray
Concords of peace totally surrounding me
Dissolved the conscious me.

Amassed as one with the great beyond
My bed a black diamond…
Yet again came the annoying groaning
Bedeviled by troublesome moaning
I looked again to see
Across the endless gossamer sea
From celestial regions on high
Bobbing in the ethereal sky
Insubstantiality intangible
In a state undefined imponderable
Yet once more I was drawn below the heavens
Where Elysium firmament leavens.

My ascent haltingly curtailed
At once overwhelmingly derailed
By inordinate despair below assailed
My estate in vaulted heaven’s bewailed
Suddenly I recognized that sound
That turned this celestial curmudgeon’s world around
Encroaching on my heaven bound senses
Torn away my last vestige defenses
It was me down there insistently groaning
It was me down there with grating moaning
It was me lying there from war’s wounds hurting.
“Can’t somebody, stop the groaning,” I’m thinking.

Now escaped from a world free from pain,
Suddenly back to the nether world again
Instantaneously as soon as I knew… I was back there
Suddenly descended from rarified air
Suddenly pulled back by something…
A cord, a tether, a silver thread, something…
From where I could not comprehend the groaning
Not with that earthbound creature empathizing
Not mortal pain understanding
Suddenly I was in him
Torn off celestial wings of this seraphim
Come from brightest light to a world painfully dim.

It did not trouble me, or at first annoy me
There was no perceivable movement
No great accomplishment
Curious! I was simply there… then I was here
As soon as I knew that he was me, simultaneous
Spontaneous, I was back in my body instantaneous.
Gone from one place to another in the twinkling of an eye,
Shortly come from where in sweet oblivion I die
Come back from the dead to be with my brothers
I was suddenly, simply there,
Hearing Platoon Medic Bryant’s crackling voice
Through the fabric of existence tear.