Gary Jacobson


Recently, said a well-meaning friend who constructively pled
Use your head…
Why can’t you thoughts of that evil war eschew?
There’s so much else you can do
Don’t waste time back-there in Nam’s sweet-and-sour dew!
Why can’t you just get over it?
Why do you spend all your time just thinking about it?

No, I don’t want to discuss it!
How can you really bear even thinking about it?
Why choose to remember that awful war good men abhor
Which shouldn’t consume one minute of your precious time
Mucking about in grime and blood good senses malign
Thinking about it all the live-long time should be a crime
For it will skew you out of step, out of rhyme!

Don’t you know these thoughts are not healthy?
Why do you to the good life show en-angered apathy?
Dwelling in the far-away war downright filthy
Why, that war’s no longer even newsworthy!
You choose… to fill yourself with war’s empathy
It’ll bring nothing but troubling mental neuropathy.

You are what you choose to be. It’s your own fault
This sullen assault on morose senses default
It’s up to you. Just out of this caustic pit vault.
Don’t let war bother you. Why can’t you just get over it?
Why do you spend all your time thinking about it?
Know you not, you warrior boys of summertime,
Death freezes the soul in biting wintertime coating rime?

Why are you emailing me at four in the morning?
You need not about the glum long-ago keep mourning!
You know, don’t you know you need your sleep?
Surely there’s nothing that will not till morning keep
Why do you let moody moldy doldrums o’er you creep?

You know, it’s all your choice!
You can pity yourself, or with the world eat, drink and rejoice
Get on with your living… leave horrible thoughts behind
Banish abominable thoughts of a destructive kind
Roust melancholic thoughts of evil that bind.

Oh my naive friend, I say… don’t you know:
I’m forever lost in my thousand yard stare…
Remembering brothers who fought and died back there,
Horribly bloody in deepest despair.
It was back there I killed my first man
Fading light in his eyes left a feeling I’ll never understand.

I still live filled with war’s violent fare
Raising beaucoup memories fair and square
How can I forget fear still filling my soul in Nam’s vapid air
Days turning cherished values upside down devil-may-care
Constant sounds of artillery still rings in my ears from back there
Forget damnable hell pouring out that I must now share.

I still regurgitate long hidden memories of warfare
Of a sweet-and-sour time when I bore the brave lion’s share
Coming only now out of shadowed time lost in grieving
Stinging… conceiving… remembering…
Betimes neither here nor there
Where Vietnam’s broken bodies fill memories raw and bare.

I’m still abandoned and so all alone in war’s crosshair
Mentally beating myself for the killing once so rampant o’er there
Berating guilt derived from Nam’s killing fields so fair
Visiting that hallowed wall and seeing that vacant chair
Tears stream from down deep from a silent place unaware.
Why do I continue weary life to persevere?

The Nam’s pain
Will always in my soul remain
You can’t wash it out
You can’t tear it out
Think it out, beat it out, wear it out…
I remember brave brothers who gave all
Wounded egregiously in a time where back-flashes pall.

Unbidden rivers-of-tears my heart still ravaging tear
Leaving unseeing eyes in that thousand yard stare
Covering verdant bloody jungle everywhere
Plucking heart-strings within me swear
Remembering Nam’s sweet-and-sour staining gall
Remembering red sticky blood on boys that fall…
Wondering why my name’s not beside brothers on that wall.

Remember… that heated September
An ambush back in that Vietcong lair
Silently crying out in deepest despair
Where still lays the pit of my soul
My young being whole
Impair my very fear ensnare
Eulogies given when bloody death rode sweet-and-sour air
Remember… part of my soul lies forever there.

Do you really think I should not now care?