General Poetry posted October 30, 2017

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A former soldier writes a letter

A Letter To Saigon

by easyeverett1

Back in the day
When we would meet
Upon the quay
We'd be discreet

And wrap our arms
Around each scent
Exotic charms
Of Orient

But both of us
Would not set free
Our musty lust

My duty when
In fair Saigon
Was leading men
From rising-dawn*

Korea sent
The ROK marines
Sadistic bent
As death machines

Those early days
Our fires burned young
Entwined in praise
For love songs sung

But soon the air
Became too thick
As if despair
Was airborne sick

The numbers grew
As soldiers came
Like ants who knew
Death changed the game

The rumors spread
Through Saigon spies
The numbered dead
Were soon to rise

And you and I
Were losing heat
Which made each lie
One more defeat

This magic place
In sixty-five
Diverse of face
And so alive

Was under now
Deceitful spells
That made men make
Their man made hells

Hotel lady
Finds new favors
For her shady
War-torn labors

Add to treasured
Manly thrusting
Poppy pleasured
Narco lusting

No fancy room
To ply her trade
She trades her gloom
For poppy fade

A whore's mad schemes
Slide out of sight
As morphine dreams
Enfold the night

The CIA's
Illicit games
Had changed their ways
To napalm flames

I wonder now
Who took offense
At asking how
Man lost his sense

It was not long
And this I swear
The truth was gone
From everywhere

And soon the sin
Of choices made
Joined in the din
Of war's grenade

But I do swear
The truth today
For I was there
And in the play

For two long years
When daylight closed
We'd laugh 'till tears
Like monsoons flowed

No quickened ways
To cleanse a soul
Just long delays
In truth made whole

Sometimes at dawn
In dreams I'm cast
Back to Saigon
And you at last


*rising dawn - is sometimes the name given Korea.
ROK - Republic Of Korea

Author Notes
*rising-dawn - Korea is called the land of the rising dawn.

During the Vietnam war Korea supplied fifty thousand ROK (Republic Of Korea) Marines to Vietnam. They were the most ferocious fighting force I have ever seen. The Vietcong went out of their way to avoid any contact with these Marines because of their stellar reputation for having deadly skill sets in all battle situations.

This poem and the writer of this letter
reflect an almost nostalgic yearning
for the war he was part of so long ago.
Most soldiers who served in combat zones
or hardship zones have experienced similar
urges to reconnect with this extended flood
of hyper-adrenalin, accompanied by massive
and sustained elevations of the endorphin
activity throughout the brain. Some vets miss
that bio-active high, as do some extreme sports
participants and other demanding physical challenges.

The soldier in the poem is remembering
his adulterous, extra-military, affair after
forty years of hiding this secret from all those
he loves and who love him. But the metronomic
tick and tock of the ever-present grim-reaper clock will not allow him to deny the overwhelming truth that many come to know and with time, accept.

The truth is that combat and romantic relationships are forged and forever revered as the single most transformative and transcendent experience of a lifetime.

This poem is not based on any particular soldier, including myself, but most of us who served in S. E. Asia during that awful time will recognize some of the feelings expressed in this poetic.
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