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Postby 1stcavgrunt » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:20 pm

My Thousand Yard Stare
by Gary Jacobson © 1999

I sit at a table in the middle of the day
Looking out my window, not a lot to say.
TV blaring ... newspaper in front of me unread,
People see me, think I must be dead.
Talk to me ... Walk by me, I’m totally unaware.
I’m back there!
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

Carried out my back yard, again sweating hard,
Up over the mountains ... across the deep blue sea,
Where again Nam waits every day for me.
Again loaded for bear, I’m back there,
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

Every day, every night, reliving deepest fright,
With my very soul eternally fight
The eternal fight,
Time after time ... in exhausting combat rhyme.
Doesn’t anybody for me care
Here...or there,
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

Hand me a bottle to drink away my sorrow,
'Cause I don’t want to go back there tomorrow,
But I will, oh I will ... tho' dread does my heart fill.
I go there every day,
Tho' God knows I try not to in every way.
For sometimes life is hard to bear
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

Listen, did you hear something?
Something rustling ... something moving!
What’s that in the tree line?
Pass that Thunderbird wine.
Did something behind that bush move there?
Please Lord, I don’t want to go back there,
Back to the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

Were we wrong, or were we right?
I still don’t know! Either way, I still had to go.
Doesn’t matter, we still had to fight,
Giving our all in heart-pumping might.
We had no choice but walking the park
From dawn to dark,
Humping, sweating, grunting ... thinking of dying.
I couldn’t then, but now I can ... cry
With the eternal question why?
Did I Vietnam’s fragrant fabric of life tear,
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare?

I’m once again on combat patrol,
Going crazy in this jungle hell hole,
Again fearing my old friend death
Afraid to take a deep breath
Lest someone hear me that’s trying to kill,
This infantryman who's primed to kill...
Don’t touch me unless you too wish to die
Out in the killing zone, so far from home,
Lost and so all alone
Watching friends bleed and die there,
Wondering why is it not me back there,
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

Then I see him ... hovering in jungled light dim,
Grinning grotesquely ... hideously ... at me.
My Vietcong brother, causes an involuntarily shudder,
For death once again rides sweet and sour air,
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

My heart floods with anguish, that years cannot extinguish.
My sanity I again relinquish
Seeing again the man I killed so long ago ... grinning so,
My erstwhile foe,
Waiting for me back there
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare!

Did I really kill him? Or did he kill me?
In my ptsd it’s so hard to see.
Will he finally set me free,
From my daily tour back there,
To the end of my Thousand Yard Stare?

Is that old Vietcong haunting me ... or am I haunting him?
Will Charley this time my blood spill on the ground?
Will I fall without a sound,
Again in suffering despair,
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare?

Suddenly there’s smoke, a deafening roar the dead awoke.
Comes again a pungent smell,
That acrid smell of death, reminiscent of hell
That old Vietcong’s lying on the ground ... without a sound,
Without a face, no more his family to grace.
Again there’s a tear in my eye
As I silently wonder why this man had to die?
Forlornly, Horribly
Moldering in his grave back there,
Why is it not me back there,
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare?

Hours later I’m back at my table,
Back from a world grisly unstable,
Back from my Thousand Yard Stare.
But I know he’s still waiting back there,
Of this I’m certain, for I’ll see him tomorrow,
When fevered winds blow ... again I’ll cry,
Maybe this time I’ll die!

Why Lord, can’t I contented be
In the arms of my lofty mountain's safety,
The purple plains majesty,
Home again in the land of the free,
In the loving arms of my family?
Tho' stresses of the Nam yet bind,
Imbedded in my fevered mind.
Why can’t I give it a rest? Didn’t I pass the test?
Why God, do I have to go back where men hate me there,
Intently try to kill me there
At the end of my Thousand Yard Stare?

When you see my Thousand Yard Stare,
You’ll know I’m back there,
To face another dawn, again searching for the Vietcong!
Will you miss me when I’m gone?

check out this poem on my website
with the haunting music of Braveheart,
and beaucoup pictures.

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Postby 1stcavgrunt » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:28 pm

War is a defiant affront to sensibilities born in gentility
to boys raised to respect and love the good life.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
known simply as ptsd by its sufferers,
is an insidious residual of war
buried deep in the hearts and minds of those that survive it...
impacting their forever!
Hopefully this poem will give an understanding to the Hell
many veterans cope with in their daily lives...
Those that have been there know...
Those who have not been there, do not know, unless we tell them so

by Gary Jacobson © 2001

On the dark, soft shoulder of night
I come again calling
I bring a dram of violence in memorial spite,
Of renewed anger in hate spawning
The cataclysmic seed planted in long ago fight.

I bring a dollop of truth mixed with your favorite fears
Between here, and there
A malicious fear crashing across light years
Primal screams splitting the air.
Again I take you forlorn into that jungle sweating
Filled again with deep despair

Feel my coming
Destroying you mentally, spiritually, socially
Like a flood over you pouring
My memories sing
Again sensing with uncanny way of knowing
How I relish the physical pain I bring
In trials of body and spirit
You’re alone without reprieve or respite.

My warring spirit cuts the heads
Off the flowers of sprightful youth,
Impaling hearts of those but kids
Who go forth to fight in my battles uncouth!

How happy I am to see you once more abandoned
Feeling again bestial urges procreated
Hating everybody, yourself most of all
Again short of breath depressed
Moments before battle’s pall

Relive now the unthinkable degradation
Face the horror once more without deviation
Bury deep inside assaulting confusions.
Feel again rising anticipation of killing’s illusions.

Feel war's bloodied frenzy boiling in your brain
Feel the soulless fright of long ago despairing
Like restless spirits rising guilt’s refrain
In sensitivities killed dead and dying

Feel again the moment you have killed
Feel the blood on your hands you’ve spilled
Poking an eternal hole through your heart
Remember how you emptily joked of death
Hoping if you joked about deaths part
It would not come...but never fear
I am here!
I’m always near!
I will not forsake you as others have!
I will not let you so soon forget that year!

No, you have not escaped me American soldier
I harangue you still with scattered senses
In dreams bolder
That abed in rest you ponder
I penetrate your wearied defenses
Revive relentless spirits in you restless
Keeping you sleepless

Awakening to sounds of a machine guns clatter
Its sickening thumping splattering human remains
See it...relive it, does this now still matter
Remember with venomous refrains
Whomp whomp whomp of helicopter chatter

My trauma comes into the dead of night grinding
Carried into the thickness of pain
My job to do the killing
Walking so softly in monsoon rain

My consuming anguish destroys you mentally
Suddenly embroiled in raucous cacophony
So as not to wake the dead
Assuage culminating
Of war's foul dread.

Dream your sweet dreams
Try to forget Nam’s incessant toxicology
Consorting with the demon of schemes
Mitigate war’s vicious abnormality

Pressing to futile irritability
I scream till you can’t think clearly
Everybody around making life uncomfortable
But don't worry, I’ll always be there
Ever reminding you of that vacant chair
You really should have sat there...

Every night I'll show you the empty eyes
Discover again your gut shot brother
I'll make you look deep into the eyes
Of his fatherless child
Look into tearful eyes
Of his young bride...
O no, you cannot hide...

Think back on war’s vicious anomaly
Where more than ever before in life history
Those loved dearest
Bide away from you farthest,
While specters of death hover ever more nearest.

Feel now that familiar tingling up your spine.
Feel taut knots impatiently forming in your gut.
In your bed in prone ambush lying supine
In cutthroat night relive freedom’s juggernaut.

Feel coiled springs inside me
Still begging for release
Violence boiling in me
Stored there to remember evermore without peace
Come rushing adrenaline
Across light years that will not their terror's cease
Living from then to now maudlin.

Still you're every night fighting
Across Satan’s fetid turf churning
Into voracious jaws of death's maw mouthing
Still every night waking
Remembering still the killing

Still in dreams see the dead
Blood running into eyes thick and red
Life shattered by horns that still gore
Still cursing barbaric war’s carnivore
Still both God and devil imploring
Still Hell on earth enduring.

What great loyalty you have for me.
I don’t have to kill you dead
To have you join me
Because by all appearances you’re already dead
You're killing yourself daily
Living with atrocity that war in you bred
I'm more important to you obviously,
Than friends with all their loving
I’ve taken over your life bullishly,
I’m the first thing you wake up to every morning.
Robbed of will to do anything about it, candidly.

I journey with you through wretched life abysmally
Riding choppers to the end of your thousand yard stare
Back to where life treated you so abusively
Ever going in memory back there
In life lived painfully
Still looking for answers back there

You find pleasure in the mire wallowing
Ever looking for meaning
In gutters metaphorically
Day to day living In past memory abhorrently.

You cannot escape
Coping with this pall over you I drape...
I’m with you day and night
Ever part of your mind's landscape
Renewing war's ingrained bite...

We drink together my brother, till you pass out
Feeling sorry for yourself inherently,
Just a burned out boyscout
By the very ones you served outcast abjectly

Long ago in a land called Vietnam
I first got ahold of you to make life accurst
Bore into your inner being my ticking time bomb
Perpetuating the dream of innocence burst
Permeating your soul from that time on....
Destroying on, and on, and on...

You can never have enough guilt,
Shaking with icy cold sweat
I've a monster in you built
You can never pay my debt
Jailed, insane, lost in another institution
Trying for what you've done to make restitution

Of my insidious hold you’ll never be free...
Bound to go through life pathetically.
Unproductive, barren, unbearably
Sacrificing jobs, friends, loved me!
Forever mine for all time you see
You belong to me unalterably
I'm your very own PTSD!
Won’t you come again and talk to me?

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