Anthony W. Pahl


The beat of a chopper; the backfire of a car
The odour of compost; the smoke from a fire
The flash of a sky rocket; a loud noise from the rear
All send my mind reeling – back there in fear.

The smell of burned bacon; the sight of red mud
The stench of my sweat in the rain mixed with blood
The rush of adrenalin; lungs gasping for breath
All return me to Vietnam to seek my own death.

The fear of wide spaces and of crowds all around
Cause nightmares and flashbacks that send me to ground
Words unspoken are heard like the sound of a gun
That starts my mind racing… but there’s nowhere to run.

And faces I remember from the year I was there
Still haunt me and taunt me and feed my despair
Sometimes my family wear those faces of yore
and sometimes,
just sometimes, death is what I yearn for.