Colin F. Jones

STRONG POINT ONE

Rain muffles noise,
and hides silent steps,
its slashing din,
pelting into spreading pools,
of miry slush…
the jungle is an
entanglement of dark shapes,
beyond the wire,
beyond the flares
beyond the claymores,
beyond the strong point.

The starlite scope,
turns the world into
light green,
with funny dancing black dots,
we see better
without it,
our eyes becoming
accustomed to the night.
But it is good
for spotting wild boar!

Along the flare line
we pile our cordite bags,
discarded after
each fire mission,
the pile is growing…

We chew on ‘dog biscuits’
looking out over the M60…
scanning with the starlite scope,
practicing our arcs,
with the M16.

It is difficult to stay awake,
as we sit back
in the shadows,
making no silhouette
in the slit…
“Did you see that?”
“No… what was it?”
“One o’clock… is that a stump,
it seems to be moving”
“It’s a stump”
“How do you know?”
“Close one eye… if it still moves
shoot it…
“It ain’t moving.”
“Right”

“Hell mate, I’m cold, that fucking rain!”
“Only an hour to go.”
“Oh is that all…”
“Here take over the MG for a while, I need
to stretch my back a bit”
“Okay”
“Don’t sit on the ammo box!”
“Why?”
“Just don’t.”

brrrrrr brrrrr
“Strong point one!!”
“No sir, nothing seen from here…”
“Yes sir… fully alert sir yes.”
“Roger”

“What’s up Bomber”
“Movement at strong point two”

Silence.

Checking the claymore triggers,
one up the spout of the M79,
a scan with the scope…

Eyes straining until they hurt,
then straining more,

brrrrrr brrrr
“Strong point one”
“Yes sir… ok sir”

“The battery is standing to, mate”
“Shit”

“Charlie and echo guns
are loading splintex”

“Shit bomber”
“Take deep breaths mate,
keep you eyes peeled”

“Yes sir, ok sir… report
any movement to you… yes
sir hold… our fire… yes sir,
……………

“I see people Bomber!”
“Yeah… gottum mate…
gottum in the scope…”
“… Movement sir… on the wire,
strong point one sir… yes…”

whoooooosh… pop… pop… pop!!
“Fuck there’s hundreds of them…”
“Give ‘em shit Danny… hook in mate…”
“Jesus bomber… look at them cordite
bags go up!!… can’t see for fucking smoke.”

Claymores…1… 2… 3…
“Holy bloody hell!!!?

“Bursts… Danny bursts, mate… you’re running hot!!”
“Fuck that 79 has deafened me.”

“What the fuck was that!!!!!?
“Splitex… splintex… that’ll stop ‘em
farting in church…”

brrrr brrrr brrrrrr…

“The phone bomber… the phone…”
“Fuck the phone!!!”
“That’s all the M79’s gone…”
“… Guns jammed…”
“Ok grab your rifle mate,
stay cool pick your shots…”
“Where’s the M16…?”
“In the mud under my feet, Danny;
fucking heap of shit…”

“Wow look at those flames, poor
bastards…. fried to death…”

Dying flares… and cordite flames…
petering out…
Darkness.
Silence.

“Better get on the phone”
“Strong point one sir”
“Yes sir… ok sir… need more ammo sir,
M79, 7.62 and armalite… yes sir… and a medic…”

“Keep you eyes peeled, Danny”

“…Ok Bomber…. Bomber…!!?”