Bio Note: I write poems the way I make visual art. Both activities are mainly intuitive. I feel like a conduit for a creative force that works through me. I had not planned on becoming an artist, but after suffering from PTSD when I returned from the Vietnam War, art found me and its therapeutic effect has literally saved my life and given it meaning.
Some memories persist, Resist forgetting, Forever pestering, To remember something You’d rather forget. In a swampy expanse, In pursuit of the enemy, We walked beside each other, As we swept toward a Looming confrontation. Not knowing his name, But knowing his presence, In a palpable atmosphere Of expectations, of fear, A finger on the trigger. And in an instant, Shots are flying Past my head or raising geysers In the knee-deep swamp, Shots fired in desperation By the cornered enemy, Choosing death over surrender, Fired until our bullets Left them sprawled in bloody poses, Left them mutilated and silent. In that instant of terror, The one beside me is falling, Falling in that relaxed way Being shot renders one Limp and collapsing. Without hesitation, amid the Chaos, focused only On helping, on preventing Him sinking Into death in the water, I cradle him, crouching, Pulling him closely, A wound in his chest, Green fluid seeps from his lips, Whites of his eyes only visible, Strange noises escaping his Unconscious mouth, The death rattle imminent. His name was Danny Gray, I found him years later, Searching The Wall, Knowing the day he died And his unit, Company C, Second Wolfhounds, Knowing fate, that morning, Left me still another day, And still another memory.
©2021 Karl Michel
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