Five Voices in Dinh Tuong Province

By : November 24, 2018

1. Pvt. Parker’s Lament

In Cho Gau village there’s not much to loot,
And no young men we could interrogate.
No bars, no Cokes, no grass, no prostitute,
Nothing to amuse us while we wait
For higher ups deciding Cho Gau’s fate.

2. Pvt. Simmons at the Perimeter

At dusk the sandbags cool, the noises stop,
Mosquitoes rally for the next attack,
And darkness floods my bunker to the top.
When all around Viet Nam turns to black
I grope for flares to push the shadows back.

3. Pvt. Shaw at the Cowboy Bar

Just yesterday some black guy took a round
Behind the steam bath, near Soul Brothers Place.
Some Motown tune drowned out the rifle’s sound
But I could see what happened by his face.
He seemed surprised by death in such a place.

4. Artillery Sgt. Allen

By 0900 hours my crew can see
The ville we’ve been erasing from the map,
Where it appears as small black squares. Tan Phap.
That gray smokes shows you where it used to be.

5. First Sergeant Coffey at the EM Club

Those grunts just in from ambush, minus two,
Have shut the jukebox down to hear the sound
Made by the others’ absence, something new.
I find their sober silence too profound.
I’ll stand those new men to another round.

This poem was published in Kentucky Poetry Review.

Filed Under: Vietnam War Poetry

Leave a Reply