VIETNAM WAR POETRY

  1st Med Battalion Takes Care of Its Own

                        All Hands at 1st Med
                        were really humping
                        in the month of March.
                        Check it out.
                        700 grunts were
                        shit-canned to our LZ,
                        mostly cold-meat believers
                        and a few crispy critters
                        set down
                        for their final R&R.
                        As choppers rolled in,
                        bodies were stacked
                        by the Green Ghouls
                        at our GRP.
                        No skating
                        at 1st Med
                        in the month of March.
                        There it fuckin' is.

                        Sometimes we
                        at 1st Med
                        asked ourselves
                        if 700 glad bags
                        in one month
                        was beaucoup.
                        We were given
                        the straight skinny
                        that it was not.
                        Lima Charlie.
                        No problem. No sweat.
                        There it fuckin' is.
                        BUPERS guaranteed separate burials
                        by-the-numbers,
                        with transportation guaranteed
                        to cemetery of choice.
                        (See CEM.CHOICE.CONUS data base.)
                        Check it out.

by Contributing Poet:     Raymond Keen   Copyright © 2013
      ( First published in   Love Poems for Cannibals   2013 )


  Doofus Ensign Comes to Terms with the War
(with the Aid of a Little Hash)

                        The smoky haze in the
                        NeuroPsychiatry hut
                        At 1st Med Battalion
                        Would not have been overlooked
                        In broad daylight.
                        But now an ensign psychologist
                        Sits alone there
                        Late in Da Nang's night,
                        Experiencing a death of ego
                        With the aid of a little hash.

                        He wonders,
                        "Because there is
                        No separation from me
                        And what I see,
                        Can psychosis be
                        More real than sanity?"

                        The ensign remembers
                        What Marine Corporal Pruett
                        Told him early that morning,
                        The story of shooting someone
                        Who was running away
                        In black pajamas
                        At a distance of 300 yards
                        (thatís about a quarter of a click)
                        In broad daylight.

                        As Corporal Pruett approached
                        The black-pajama figure
                        Lying on the ground,
                        He saw a woman
                        About his mother's age.
                        He listened
                        As the woman
                        Gasped for air,
                        The sound of blood
                        Gurgling in her throat,
                        Preventing her from crying out.
                        He listened
                        To the soft hissing sound
                        Coming from the hole
                        In the womanís chest,
                        As a red froth
                        Formed around the wound,
                        The black pajamas
                        Now wet and sticky
                        With the woman's red blood,
                        Drying fast in the afternoon sun.
                        Drying fast in broad daylight.

                        Now the hashish has created
                        A haven of light around
                        The event. The ensign remembers
                        Hearing Corporal Pruett ask,
                        "What will my mother say
                        When I tell her I shot a woman?
                        Should I tell her, Doc?
                        Do you think she can forgive me?"
                        Corporal Pruett confessed,
                        "I am changing.
                        Everyday I change.
                        Sometimes it seems
                        Like years in one day
                        From the things I have seen,
                        And heard and felt."

                        The ensign continues to sit alone
                        In the hazy Da Nang night.
                        If now he begins to understand the war,
                        It is the hash that allows him to weep.
                        It is still very dark outside
                        But the ensign is sure
                        He is weeping
                        In broad daylight.
                        It is the hash that allows him to weep.

by Contributing Poet:     Raymond Keen   Copyright © 2013
      ( First published in   Love Poems for Cannibals   2013 )


  Grabass With China Beach Ball Here In A Sitdown:
On Point With The REMF

                        We've got it covered
                        Here in the rear,
                        'Caus we're in the place
                        You want to be.
                        Here in the rear we are aka
                        The rear-echelon motherfuckers.
                        Do you have a problem with that, bushman?
                        Here in the rear
                        The Hots in Officers' Mess are great.
                        Officers' Country offers us
                        Steak once per week,
                        Fried chicken twice.
                        No rice. We prefer baked potatoes,
                        Here in the rear.
                        Or french fries.
                        Not to mention
                        Our regular ration of
                        Boom-Boom with hootchgirls.
                        For you lifer grunts in the bush,
                        Sorry 'Bout That!
                        Get over it!
                        Fast and furious
                        'Caus we are the REMF.
                        Do you Roger that, bushman?

                        OFFICIAL CHORUS FROM THE PENTAGON
                        (LBJ, RSM, and other honchos
                        went to the backroom
                        to enjoy a good cigar):
                        "No bodies of women and children
                          Were found. No non-combatant KIA
                          Were identified."


                        Billy won the Silver Star.
                        Now heís resting here with us.
                        Today, during police call
                        He found a VC head
                        On the beach
                        Just in time
                        For a guest appearance
                        In a scoshi game of
                        Volleyball
                        Or, better yet, some soccer.
                        On the beach.
                        (Here in the sitdown
                        We refer to gook gourds
                        As our China Beach balls.)
                        In other words,
                        It's time for a scoshi
                        Organized grabass.
                        It's either that
                        Or ghost time.
                        You bic, GI?
                        Are we tight on that?
                        'Caus we are the REMF.
                        Do you copy that, bushman?

                        OFFICIAL CHORUS FROM THE PENTAGON
                        (LBJ, RSM, and other higher-highers,
                        in the backroom agree):
                        "The rumors
                          Of burning villages,
                          Of leveling villages,
                          Are bogus scuttlebutt.
                          American soldiers donít
                          Waste women and children."


                        "Never happen!" they say.
                        You copy that big brown
                        Stinking fucking lie, bushman?
                        'Caus LBJ, he swore on a bible, bushman?
                        Has LBJ got our fellow Americans
                        Squared away on that?
                        Well, what are you fighting for, bushman?

                        OFFICIAL CHORUS FROM LBJ
                        "There is a price to pay
                          In a just peace for all.
                          There is a price to pay
                          For peace at any price.
                          Remember the Mayflower.
                          The American flag
                          Is not just a rag
                          To shine your shoes on, Boy!"

                        "Tomorrow feels good!
                          Be proud of what we are doing over there!
                          We are moving. We are getting better every day!"


                        You bic, GI?
                        Are we tight on that?
                        'Caus we are the REMF.
                        Do you Roger that, bushman?
                        Do you have a problem with that, bushman?
                        Well, what are you fighting for, bushman?
                        Cut me a Hus, bushman.
                        Bushman! We can't let them get away with this bullshit!

by Contributing Poet:     Raymond Keen   Copyright © 2013
      ( First published in   Love Poems for Cannibals   2013 )


  Shake 'n' Bake Ensign's Short-Timer Song

                        The Vietnam War is
                        Not dinky dau,
                        Not number 10.
                        'Caus I was lucky enough
                        To snap beaucoup pictures
                        For my color-slide collection!
                        That first slide there, that's me
                        With my Mother's Day Medal.
                        Number one! Outstanding!

                        Hootchgirl asks me,
                        "When you fini Vietnam, GI?"
                        I tell hootchgirl
                        This is my wake-up.
                        So how 'bout one last short-time
                        For this short-timer?
                        'Caus I am gung ho to didi mau.
                        Didi mau on that Freedom Bird
                        Back to the World.
                        Pan Am makes the going great!
                        Number one! Outstanding!

                        Hootchgirl asks me,
                        "When you fini Vietnam, GI?"
                        I tell hootchgirl
                        This is my wake-up.
                        So how 'bout one last short-time
                        for this short-timer?
                        'Caus I am gung ho to didi mau.
                        Didi mau on that Freedom Bird
                        Back to the World.
                        Pan Am makes the going great!
                        Number one! Outstanding!

                        The Vietnam War is
                        Not dinky dau,
                        Not number 10.
                        'Caus I was lucky enough
                        To snap beaucoup pictures
                        For my color-slide collection!
                        That first slide there, that's me
                        With my Mother's Day Medal.
                        Number one! Outstanding!

by Contributing Poet:     Raymond Keen   Copyright © 2013
      ( First published in   Love Poems for Cannibals   2013 )


  Prosaic Nixon
(Inauguration - January 24, 1973)

                        Nixon said today
                        that history is going well.
                        "An end to the Vietnam war
                        is at hand," he stated.
                        It is reported that
                        he danced at all five
                        gala inaugural balls,
                        enjoying himself immensely.
                        He smiled broadly
                        and appeared at ease at the time.
                        Nixon invited young dancers
                        to cut in on him and his wife Pat.
                        Nixon said to the girls,
                        "If any of you would like to cut in,
                        please do." He said that in ten minutes
                        he danced with ten different partners.
                        Nixon declared
                        a national day of mourning
                        for Harry Truman.
                        He followed this
                        with a national day of mourning
                        for Lyndon Johnson.
                        "History goes well,"
                        Nixon was quoted as saying.

by Contributing Poet:     Raymond Keen   Copyright © 2013
      ( First published in   Love Poems for Cannibals   2013 )


Bio:   Raymond Keen's first volume of poetry, Love Poems for Cannibals, was published in February 2013 by CreateSpace. His drama, The Private and Public Life of King Able, will be published in 2015. Five of his poems appeared in the July/August 2005 Issue of The American Poetry Review. Since 2010, Raymondís poems have been accepted for publication by 24 literary journals. Most of his war poetry relates directly to his "rear area" experience as a "boot Navy Ensign" and clinical psychologist with the 1st Medical Battalion attached to the 1st Marine Division near Da Nang. Raymond spent three years as a Navy clinical psychologist with a year in Vietnam (July 1967 Ė July 1968). He worked at 1st Medical Battalion on the outskirts of Da Nang, which was attached to the 1st Marine Division. Since that time he has worked as a school psychologist in the USA and overseas, until his retirement in 2006. Raymond lives with his wife Kemme in Sahuarita, AZ. They have two grown children.


              Contributing Poets
              Submissions
              About Us
              Home

Except where otherwise attributed,  all pages & content herein
Copyright © 2014  
PAUL HELLWEG   VietnamWarPoetry.com   All rights reserved
Frazier Park, California, USA