Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Vietnam War Poetry: My Buddy Jerry Drove the Jeep

My buddy Jerry drove the jeep by Rod Farmer

My buddy Jerry drove the jeep,
I rode shotgun up front,
a new guy manned the mounted
machine gun in the back as
we drove past Vietnamese farmers
walking from the fields, heading for
their village ahead, and against my
protest Jerry mischievously drove
as close to the farmers as he could,
forcing them to jump off the road,
he laughed each time a surprised
farmer leaped for safety but the girl
on the bicycle did not move out of
the road, we sideswiped her knocking
her to the ground where she lay still.
I yelled at Jerry made him drive
back to the unconscious girl, where
we put her in the jeep, drove her into
the village where Jerry and the new
guy carried her to the village doctor
while I alone guarded the jeep and
stood behind the mounted gun as three
hundred villagers in total silence
surrounded me, shoulder-to-shoulder
in a closely packed circle they were
a single stare floating on hot hatred,
I wondered when the boil would begin,
when I would be left limbless lifeless.
After a fifteen minute hour Jerry
returned said the girl was fine with
no broken bones, as the unblinking
crowd silently parted barely enough
for us to drive slowly through and I
was relieved we had done the right
thing after having done something wrong,
sorry for our mistake, more honest
diplomats than the diplomats.

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