VIETNAM WAR POETRY

  Jackets

                        We’re in P-town looking around
                        as a bunch of motorcyclists ride up
                        on their smoking hogs. I let the butter crunch
                        ice cream drip down the sugar cone into
                        the palm of my hand

                        They’re older, cigarettes smoldering
                        in black-bearded faces, protruding
                        beer bellies, bluish-gray tattoos
                       
                        They have hard-looking women with them
                        in shiny hip boots tangled blonde hair
                        peace sign earrings and love beads too
                        like in the ’60s

                        But nobody's worried
                        because as they park their bikes
                        we notice VIETNAM VETS
                        lettered on their jackets

                        And we feel safe then certain
                        and solemn for they are bigger than life
                        coming back from hell to tell us about it
                        and live among us forgiving us still

by Contributing Poet:     Michael Estabrook   Copyright © 2014
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2015 )


  Smoking Fucking Junk

                        Phil flew wounded and dying soldiers
                        in his medical evac chopper
                        for a year in Nam and three times
                        enemy fire brought him
                        crashing to the ground
                        but he gets a big bellowing laugh
                        out of it today
                        explaining how in seconds
                        these magnificent monster machines
                        became six million dollar piles
                        of smoking fucking junk
                        and he says he laughs
                        because the government lost all that money
                        but we know it was because he cheated death
                        and his chopper was empty
                        each time it hit the ground.

by Contributing Poet:     Michael Estabrook   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2015 )


  Staring at Something

                        Phil told how some of the boys
                        in his platoon caught a Vietcong guerrilla
                        murdering innocent civilians
                        one a pretty pregnant girl he raped then killed
                        by stringing her up naked and screaming
                        cut open her belly with one of those jagged-
                        edged jungle knives just like that
                        out there in the open a lesson
                        for the other villagers so Phil
                        and the boys caught him
                        stripped him strung him up from a tree
                        naked like the girl then blew his balls off
                        watching him squirm splutter scream
                        and eventually bleed to death
                        glad to watch him die Phil said they had to do it
                        or they'd never be able to live with themselves
                        and as he was telling the story his eyes
                        glazed over like he was staring
                        at something far away that
                        couldn’t have really happened

by Contributing Poet:     Michael Estabrook   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2015 )


  Helicopter

                        Jimmy drives us to the club in his
                        battered Ford pickup suddenly a giant
                        khaki Chopper appears circling
                        banking stiff blades churning the hot
                        June air as it swoops down over
                        the trees, stopping, hovering right
                        above us: thank God this isn't Nam,
                        I say, voicing what I know is
                        thundering through Jimmy's
                        frantic mind (smoky scenes
                        of bleeding broken bodies; bullets,
                        rockets whizzing all around)
                        but it doesn't matter what I say,
                        he must pull over, wipe the sweat
                        from his face, and wait for his hands
                        to stop shaking before driving on.

by Contributing Poet:     Michael Estabrook   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2015 )


Bio:   Michael Estabrook   is a recently retired baby boomer poet, a child of the sixties freed finally after working 40 years for "The Man" and sometimes "The Woman." No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. Now he's able to devote serious time to making better poems when he's not, of course, trying to satisfy his wife's legendary Honey-Do List.


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