by Larry Winters
Larry first wrote this poem after watching a ticker-tape parade honoring
the Vietnam veterans ten years after the end of combat -- "ten years too
late." With the present relevance of that experience he rewrote the poem
Now! It's the style, it's the vogue.
Now! Writers are finally writing about blood that's nothing but red dust.
Now! Kids are wearing camouflage to school and packing plastic M-16s
Now! It's the rage to think about him, 'cause the rage in the Vietnam vet
is old. Tears and beers have grown cataracts over eyes that once sighted
M-60 machines guns.
Now! Step up. It's hip to notice him after forty years down the road.
Now! It's safe to slap him on the back; his metals are still hidden, family
Now! Don't be afraid; he's no longer the baby killer, he long ago slipped
into the darkness of the seventies, to cool.
Now! Don't you worry that you gave him a parade ten years too late. You watched
him slapping leather down New York City's main drag while he got ticker tape
in his gray hair as the media ground one last dry hump out of him.
Now! You can raise your hand and slap a thanks gig on the 58,000 boys who
laid down in the Nam. Over 100,000 lay down here at home, and we don't count
them, suicide man, our kids know about that.
Now! Let's thank the old vets for selling those hearts and minds so cheap
so we could keep what we could keep.
Now! Let's not forget today's young vets who are finding out their lives
are just as cheap.
by Larry Winters May 5, 2007