Jackie R. Kays


Night after night, face-to-face, I’m forced to
meet the beast. He comes with shackles and
chains and drags me back in time and space
to that bloody jungle place.

The red mud is deep as the monsoon
empties its keep. A pop flare’s ghostly
light slowly penetrates the foggy
jungle night.

Jets are in the sky; napalm and burning
flesh are overwhelming and grotesque
to the eye.

The smell of death permeates the smoky
jungle air, and humans are dying

The righteous and the evil dance hand
in hand in a tango with death, while it
steals their last breath.

Those same ghostly faces…
I constantly see.
Night after night they
come vividly back to me.

Over and over they must die,
and each time I ponder why.

That jungle war is long over, but like
an eight track, it just keeps playing back.

I’ve been told that I shall see those
faces of the innocent, the guilty and
the bold until I turn gray and old.

The Beast never sleeps…
So I’ve been told.