Mike Subritzky


US Agent Orange Quilt of Tears
The names of the Dead in this poem have been
embroidered onto the “US Agent Orange Quilt of Tears”

IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence: February 2004
“Kiwi Gunners Shun!”

“Bombardier Barrett!”
He’s dead Sir.
Dead? How Dead? He was only 48 years old!
Dead as a maggot Sir – Agent Orange killed him.

“Gunner Bevan!”
Dead Sir, weird cancers, dead at 45.

“Gunner Brown!”
Dead Sir, died aged 41
Fuck! He didn’t make old bones.

“Staff Sergeant Curley!”
Dead Sir.

“Sergeant Gordon!”
Dead Sir, one of the first to go.

“Bombardier Huston!”
Dead Sir.

“Bombardier Jackson!”
Dead Sir, died on his last day in the Army.

“Lance Bombardier Hubbard!”
Dead Sir. Maggot fuckin’ dead.

“Captain Martin!”
Agent Orange got him Sir.

“Captain McKinney!”
Him too Sir, that Agent Orange is unforgiving shit.

“Sergeant Niwa!”
Alive Sir.
Alive! Thank fuck for that!
His kids are all deformed Sir;
all the ones born after he came home.

“Gunner Rangiahu!”
Dead Sir, died on the operating table.

“Lance Bombardier Rawiri!”
Dead Sir – Lost a leg.

“Gunner Soper!”
Alive Sir, crook as fuck, but alive;
with weird skin rashes.

“Gunner Subritzky!”
Alive Sir.
Thank fuck for that! Is he OK?
17 cancer operations Sir.

“Lieutenant Weatherhead!”
Dead Sir.
He won’t be flying any more gunships outta Saigon Sir.

“Sergeant Wirihana!”
Dead Sir, two tours of the Nam;
but just another weird cancer death.

“Doesn’t anyone give a fuck soldier?”
“Sorry Sir, giving a fuck costs money
and Vietnam wasn’t worth a fuck Sir.”

Author’s Note: Written after the death of Lou Hubbard on December 26, 1999