Dennis Maulsby

VETERANS’ VIETNAM CHANT

can’t forget
naked children with curious eyes
the corrupt province chiefs
greedy, bloody mandarin class
women pissing in the grass

can’t forget
the monsoon’s muddy suck
whine of choppers’ blades
the guns’ spitted phlegm
cries of the lost… and those who lost them

can’t forget
smells of diesel, blood, and nitrates
odors of abattoir and sewer
the rotting mud and burning human meat
dark Nuc Mam, a taste of life, so sweet

can’t forget
the sweat hot days
crowds of refugees
native women and children hit
the high smoke columns of burning shit

can’t forget
the return home – short one fatted calf –
yearning for a slippery peace
questions about my silent mode
body and mind on a strange, lonely road

can’t forget
the feather merchants’ cheating ways
our leaders’ lying sound bites
the civilians unable to connect
dreary decades of disrespect

damn what anyone thought or said
the Brothers matched the grace of past GI’s
we died as well, my fool friends, we died