Feb 252011

Thank You for Your Hospitality

By David Satterlee
A poem of the “police action” in Vietnam.

[Note: contains profanity and violence.]


Nothing so rapturous, so beauteous, and grand
As napalm applied to a section of land.
Earth dances and sways and it bucks where you stand;
Consuming at once, in cataclysmic orgasm, every foe, every friend, every frond, every fucking leach.

Don’t know when to duck; there’s never alarm.
Shot at by snipers. Pinned down near some farm.
I cradled a buddy as he died with no arm.
He gave as a gift the last whisper of breath from his lips. I would have liked to shake his hand.

Pacify, pacify, pacify thou.
We’re torching your hutch and we’re gutting your cow.
Pacify, pacify, pacify thou.
We’re fighting for you and your miserable country, so be thankful.

Our camp here if filthy and crawling with roaches.
Our camp whore is pregnant; her journey approaches;
Going back to her family to face their reproaches.
In danger on the road back to her village shod in boots made by Wellco in the US of A.

Tears of rapture greet the sound
of Hueys inbound to the ground
our platoon holds. We’re not yet found
by the ‘cong patrol that’s been searching these paddies all day, grid by grid.

Jocko is missing his foot, the right.
Jocko is missing an eye, no sight.
Jocko is missing his girl, tonight.
He knows she will never wait for him after being notified that he is missing his manhood as well.

Aged old woman squats low to the dust,
Blind eyes searching the sky, asking her ancestors the way that she must
Travel to join them. Preparing to give her soul up in trust
To the spirits of the ancients, her family, her clan, the anchor of her faith.

Two of us lost in the jungle by moonlight.
Separated from our platoon in a firefight.
A peasant gives shelter; tonight we’ll be alright.
We formally thank you for letting us share your most honored space.

Saffron monks walk mindfully toward us on our path;
Unmindful of the potential fury of our wrath.
Their voices are gentle when they talk or they laugh.
I would take up their vows and follow, but I am already bound in service to another.

Copyright 2011, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

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