Writings Of Boondockers Poetic Justice Members
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4TH OF JULY 2003
THE KOREAN WAR REMEMBERED /July 27,1953-July27,2003 50 years

This Is A Place Of Remembrance


Absent-minded GI

Thinking back to my year in Nam, I find my mind moving away from the times when the barbarians were not only at the gates but in the wire as well, with malice in their hearts. I'm reminded of a different sort of conflict.

The scene that plays behind my drowsing eyes is of me and the "Cambode" riding on the backs of motorcycles down a large boulevard in Saigon, probably Tu Do Street. We were both comfortably smashed, which is why I was on the motorcycle in the first place; I certainly wouldn't have gotten on one sober. Riding them must have been Cambode's idea.

I don't remember where we went, or what we did that night, I just remember heading back for home alone, still on a motorbike. The driver suddenly decided to take a short cut, ignoring my protests, and I found myself traveling through a decidedly dark and unsavory part of town, something I wasn't too happy about even in my cheerfully pickled state.

The driver continued to pay little heed to my protests until I remembered, wonder of wonders, that I had neglected to check my .45 in at the 619th along with my other gear when I arrived on Tan Son Nhut from Trang Sup. Somehow, that always seemed to happen when we came in to Saigon. When I discovered my mistake at the team house, I hadn't wanted to leave the gun laying around, so there it was, nestled snugly in my waistband beneath my shirt.

It was remarkable how quickly the driver's English improved when he felt the muzzle of that large weapon behind his ear. Or maybe it was the cheery click of it being cocked that so focused his attention. At any rate, he soon found his way back to more brightly lit, populated streets where we parted company amicably and went our separate ways.

I think we parted friends; at least, he didn't wait to be paid and didn't call me *dinky-dow until he looked back as he was speeding off and saw that both my hands were empty. I guess riding along with an angry drunk pressing a .45 in the crack of his ass had soured his disposition somewhat.

He didn't know that I had quietly lowered the hammer and slid the safety on, so a sudden bump wouldn't have instantly endowed him with a second anal orifice. I really wasn't as much worried about his health as I was about accidentally gelding myself. That .45 was snuggled against both his and my more treasured parts. Our little adventure had sobered me up considerably. I got off that bike a lot more clear-headed than I had been when I got on it.

At least, thanks to my absent-mindedness with the hand gun...and the driver's sudden grasp of English...I didn't have to strangle the little rascal and learn to operate a motorcycle myself that night. I just was flat not about to go wherever it was that he'd planned to take me. Call me a candy-ass.

Now, I cite absent-mindedness about having the gun handy since I would never, ever have deliberately disobeyed orders and carried a loaded .45 with me onto the light-hearted, tranquil streets of downtown 1966 Saigon. Not me.

*Americanization of Dien cai dau - crazy.

© 7/20/2003 Thurman P. Woodfork



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Dark Horizons
My nights
sleep upon branches
like dark birds
watching the pale clouds
beneath the Moon...

...as leaves fall.

I hear the world crying
where there is weeping,
and they are burying
the dead.

I seem to be alone,
yet many voices
and follow me.

Children's voices,
and crying.

and birds,
and the cold wind
beneath the Moon.

....an old dog howling,

calling the darkness that lies silent,
...somewhere in time.

Dark horizons
beside the road
that leads so quietly
toward the sleep
.... and the silence
that lies  at the end
of the world.

© Jul 20 03


War Poets' Requiem

Is this not our goal?
For our palettes' selections to be diminished?
For the colors of combat and the tints of terror to be reduced?

Are our words then.art?
We mean them to stir thought ,contemplation, and yes ,debate
They are our brush strokes speaking,
screaming to be heard!

Stories of heroes, horror, remembrance and hope!
Abstract and real images with a noble intent
to heal to remind to create pause,
so our children and their children may read them and know that many
fear the consequences of war

That they may always honor those who gave their tomorrows for us all!
That they may be willing, yet never eager ,to give the same

And, so yet we write,
With the wish that fewer shades of red will be required one day

Until that day
please God
Do not let our words pass as painted shadows on a dark canvas
unnoticed and unheeded

There is still much to say!

 © 7/21/03 Randy Richmond


Ghost, Demons!  Oh! What The Hell


Many nights he sleeps with a pistol under his jacket

The only thing that he still owns from Nam is that gun

No bath or shave in several days now

The mission finally had told him that he would have to move on.


A young man once, and still only in his fiftys

He had fought one demon at a time but lost to alcohol

A cheap wine and a cardboard box was where he spends his time

No hope, no dreams, nothing except his Ghost, Demons! So its Oh! What The Hell


Somewhere he lost his wife of only 3 years,

He cant remember now why

But deep inside he would know that the Ghost, Demons and the Oh! What The Hell

That was more than she could take after a while


Her name of course he remembers every night

Her face, her beauty and his love

But those Ghost, Demons and his Oh! What The Hell feelings cost him all

In his sleep he still remembers and joins her in a love that is no more.


At the deepest of his sleep, in his drunken slumber again come

Ghost, Demons and after this many years Oh! What The Hell

To remember those faces, those bodies, those mangled limbs

Keeps him in a place no one knows, and he wouldnt let anyone in.


So again tonight he sleeps a fitful night with his memories

He tells him self that tomorrow he will be sober and stay that way

But tomorrow never comes; he dies in his sleep to join his

Ghost, Demons but Oh! What The Hell


Just another ole drunken soldier

Found lying there in the alley with only his gun and empty bottle

Somewhere he is now at peace and if not then it is

Ghost and Demons but Oh! What The Hell?


©David R. Alexander

July 22, 2003

All Rights Reserved

Sea water

Maybe It Just Doesnt Matter


Give him a way to forget

Let him earn a good nights rest.

Take the ghost away from thee

Let his spirit be free.


Can you say it didnt matter?

Is the memory his mind about to shatter?

Peace, serenity and a gentle breeze

Not much to ask could he find them please?


Over there in the corner of his mind

Surely peace there he will find.

Dark and dank this place will be

But it doesnt matter dont you see?


A odd man of age and lost dreams

Only a few years ago so it seems.

But he knows that it has been a long while

And he is about to travel his last mile.


Struggling to keep a little piece of sanity.

Mumbling, drinking and cursing profanity

He cant remember his last bath or bed

Allowing his next drink to take its toll instead.


Cant you see that this is inhumanity?

Does it not matter that he once had a family?

Diagnosed with PTSD,

Most everyone just decided to let him be.


To sleep is to dream

To dream is to scream.

No weakness does he think he shows

But his failings everyone knows.


Some stop to give him a coin

The mission and the church would help but he wont join.

A loner for oh so many years

Long ago he lost his tears.


Tonight he sleeps a fitful and restless sleep

Memories come back from way down deep.

But he wont give in and he wont weep

For if he does he would give up his mystique.


This one is about to be

Another statistic dont you see?

Another bum about to pass

Soon all of the ole soldiers will breathe their last.

©David R. Alexander

July 22, 2003

All Rights Reserved


A Tribute To The Sergeants


Up at 0400 running when you hit the floor

Shower, uniform and out the door

In formation for the morning inspection, why so urgent?

Dressed down by an irritable platoon sergeant.


Physical Training, breakfast and more yelling by the sergeant.

March, March and double time a soldier is emergent

Low crawl, pushups, and more yelling by the sergeant.

A long boring class in the sun, sleepy, tired and not ready for tomorrows resurgent


March, March, and double time made to just annoy

An evening meal that you cant sit and enjoy

More pushups, never ending cleaning of your weapon

More yelling by the platoon sergeant, its you he picks on.


How we hated basic training

How we hated the platoon sergeant, heck now its raining.

How we hated the damn endless weapon cleaning

How we hated those pushups, and physical training.


Lord, do I ever wish I could go back to that training again

Here in this land it can save your life and so much more I would gain.

Now with reverence we remember the platoon sergeant and his drive

He was doing a job that now seems quiet clear, KEEPING US ALIVE.


Lying here in this God forsaken jungle, just waiting and remembering

I in my mind go over those things that were taught it is amazing

And because of the yelling and caring of that no good B**T**D

God Bless him and his service to our country and me for he was our shepherd.

©David R. Alexander

July 23, 2003

All Rights Reserved


To The Sky Soldiers

Leaving the security of the bush

We must find a way out of this place

Three of us are all that is left of this latest push

Our chopper shot down and the VC giving chase.


We only hope that someone has our position

Checked the crew, and all are KIA

Surely someone can help us with our opposition

They better show up without delay.


No radio, no rations, no nothing only the ammo on us

Charlie is closing in on us and the Sergeant cant walk

Just a cherry run to a cold LZ, enough to make a preacher cuss.

VC too close to even talk.


Finally they have moved away, now to tend to the Sergeant

A simple splint and a comforting word

Thank God he doesnt need a full time attendant

This whole mission should have never occurred.


Sending too small of a force to a LZ that was supposed to be clear

Again the Headquarters give orders that they dont have to live with

Coming in for a non hostile landing the chopper took a round and the pilot couldnt steer

We hit the ground with a terrific force killing all but we LUCKY three, what a myth.


A slight rain is starting to fall and the enemy will double back

No light, no fire, no sound. What the heck are we supposed to do now?

We dont have the ability to withstand an attack

Man we all wish we had some chow.


The Sergeant is getting worse, shock I think but what the heck do I know

Larry is trying to make a short trip to see if there is any activity

Nothing left to do but stay quiet and low

Now is the time for some creativity.


Larry is back and says he has seen nothing so far

Hungry, tired, hurt and without any knowledge of our own abilities

The Sergeants wound is beginning to bleed again and the sky doesnt even have a star.

We sit around and lowly speak of these hostilities.


Suddenly the sky opens up and it starts to pour

Nothing to do but sit still and pray for our buddies to come

The Sarges pain is intense but the pain he tries to ignore.

We are now cold and wet and my feet are numb.


We are lucky enough I guess for with the morning comes the sun

With the sun comes a beautiful day, but also may bring the VC back

We search the skies for choppers but see none

All of us know we can not withstand an attack.


Suddenly from across the stream we can just make out the images of the Cong

We hold our breath and pray for some help so we wont end up either POW or dead

Then from the heavens comes a sound as sweet as a song

The sound of choppers but thin they are spread.


First a pass and then the welcome machine-gun fire

Next a direct hit on the enemy and they begin to run

What a welcome site as one of the choppers sits down in this mire

More brothers from the sky begin to fire and support us on the ground they are having fun.


As we scramble to get on board, a glance of thanks to the gunner

He acknowledges with a smile and a "You didnt think we would leave you, did you?"

We lift off and the fight we are leaving is a real barnburner.

Once we are back to our LZ, we try to thank these guys but it wont do.


Over my home choppers often fly

Im reminded of the several times if not for these brave guys I wouldnt have made it Back.

Their courage none of us can deny.

They were and are heros to us ground pounders, You Guys Had Our Backs.

©David R. Alexander

July 23, 2003

All Rights Reserved


Beautiful Vietnam
Blue dark mountains, clear water and a stiff breeze
Lurking beneath the beauty is death.
No where on earth does the beauty of land compare
Vietnam is a wealth of beauty and culture.
Yet one misstep one mistake and it is death.
Green fields of rice, deep green jungles
Snakes, leeches, bugs and deadly animals
An enemy that wants to kill you
Beautiful blue green ocean water
White sandy beaches so white it makes ones eyes hurt
Not a thing of danger in site
But you know that this is a false feeling for danger is every where.
A small village of locals, they seem so peaceful
Dont be lulled into a false sense of security
By day farmers that will wave and smile
By night VC that will cut your throat without hesitation.
Dry brown rice patties drained of their water and rice
Now places filled with snakes or worse
Dykes that allow passage from one side to the other
Trip wires, booby traps and ambush waits the unsuspecting.
Buddhist Temples, shaven headed men in orange sheet like clothing
They smile at you as you pass but no one really knows what they are thinking.
Beautiful statues and religious artifacts abound the area.
Tranquil and peaceful enough to lull one into carelessness
Young children, papasan and mommasan working in their crop
Mommasan with black beetlenut teeth, papasan with no teeth at all
The children, playing unaware of the danger and their part in it.                 
Then a child of no more than five or six, runs up for candy we think

A blast, a loud earth shattering blast
A young soldier giving away candy to the child
Both killed from the blast
VC had strapped two grenades to the child and told her to run up for candy.  
The mommasan screams a shrill yell of woe
Poppasan falls to the ground in grief and tears roll down his face.
The child is no more; the soldier is no more
Strange now they are together forever.
A strange but winding path through the beauty of the jungle
Birds, and insects all around, a comfort for the most part
As long as the birds are still here chances Charlie isnt
But alas, a trip wire and another soldier dies as a booby trap impales him to a tree
No one can imagine the beauty
When death is so close at hand
No one can feel the struggle for each side to keep this land
Only a few can come out without a scar of body or mind.

To have found this land without the danger
To swim in its ocean
To visit its vast wood lands
To feel at peace under Gods own canopy
But it wasnt to be
It isnt a place for relaxation or fun
A country that has been at war for many, many years
Now controlled by our enemy.
Those people of honest, and hard working decent
Now again under the rule of a dictatorship of oppression
What a waste of natural beauty, lives and dreams
What a waste of young men that fought to free these people.
Beautiful Vietnam,
Yes you were, and my dreams you still are.
To have the wisdom, the dream, the beauty and no freedom
Maybe someday, maybe someday!

©David R. Alexander
July 24, 2003
All Rights Reserved

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