The Boys In The Jungle.......

Sleeping or dozing off but rarely........
staring through the monsoon dark
The cold steel iron death ....a killing machine
laying across his legs ready for it's part

Two GI issue rain ponchos tied together
above them the only shelter around
He glances sideways at his buddy curled up
in a foxhole in the ground

The rain never stops .......he is entirely wet
his boots ......his socks rotting away
He's begun to see things in the mist .... moving.....
is his mind slipping away?

He could have taken the offer of an honor
guard in Washington D.C.
Instead he volunteers in the jungle gunning
for a enemy called V.C.

Taking off his helmet and lays a green towel
over his head to divert the rain
Just to keep his vision cleared and change
the hallucinatory game

In the dawn they will move again
in the rain......he begins to freeze
The Huey's will lift them out on a rope
dragging them through the trees

The man in the jungle ......watches a shadow
crawl across his boot
And wonders will the snake strike out
if it does he can't shoot

Today they lost seven men ...they put
the dog tags into their mouths
Thinking about their young faces he
looks at his compass and finds south

Having an unusual sense of direction
always knowing the way alone
As he dozes of in the jungle he
dreams of going home


My brother Al , my ultimate hero , signed onto two tours in the Marines in the previously unknown jungles of Viet Nam , The marines followed the French who followed the Chinese who followed ........whoever in the centuries of jungle mayhem . My brother turned sixty this year and says this slowly and evenly ," I remember it all ......like it was yesterday ", I'm sure he does and as I listen to him talk about not sleeping at night , I ask" Have you ever been checked for PTSD , ? " and he looks at me for a second and then avoids my eye's for a few minutes...........Every time I Iook at him , I can't help but see the boy in the jungle.........No,
actually , The Man in the jungle!








Comments 20 comments

tnderhrt23 profile image

tnderhrt23 5 years ago

ahorseback, a chilling, vivid write, and a great tribute to your brother, and all of our brave men and women who serve. This touched me deeply. I cant imagine anyone experiencing the horrors of war not having PTSD...God bless your brother, and you!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Tnderhrt, Bless them! for all they have done , There are so many and We all tried hard not to acknowledge the Viet Nam vets , such a trying time for America , No ? Thank you so much , for being first and for being you!


CheyenneAutumn profile image

CheyenneAutumn 5 years ago

Your brother is indeed a hero as are all those who serve. And he is very lucky to have you there to listen to his story... those with PTSD NEED to have someone to listen as they try to explain their lives and the shadows that haunt them. Your stories, Ed, produce an avenue of healing both for your family and those who share your works here. When next you talk to your brother give him a hug and a thank you for me please.

Hugs and healing my friend!


amontoyasa profile image

amontoyasa 5 years ago

Thanks, for this now I understand what my uncle goes through as well as my brother-in-law who served in Iraq x2. PTSD is real and sometimes the soldier does not want to believe it. Tell him thanks for all he has done for our country. God Bless!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Laurie , I wish I could truely convey what I feel of his sacrifice, and he does know, believe it or not he thinks I'm his hero ,......Because I care and show it?....strange world we live in! be well girl!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Amontoyasa, Thank you and take care of your boys there .....They are true patriots !!!!! Be as true as you are !And God bless you for sharing really!


samiaali profile image

samiaali 5 years ago

Hey ahorseback, What a wonderful tribute to your brother. Vietnam was so bad and the effects on our soldiers live on today. I am sure that your brother can never forget what happened there. I was in the Army during the end of Vietnam but was lucky not to have gone there. I think it's wonderful that you honor your brother with this hubpage. We should never forget. I vote this up! :)


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Samiaali , Thank you too for your contribution to us all Samiaali, don't ever forget , there are a huge amount of silent Americans that appreciate your every sacrifice. Bless you for that! I have also sent a few letters to congress, to senate and to the news papers telling each how we must be viilant of the promises made to our veterans, all of them , Any society that forgets the sacrifices of the veteran cannot rightfully claim it's greatness . Be well Sami , keep smiling!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A great hub as always. I am so glad that you share your talent on here with us.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

The boys in the jungle became men very quick! Keep at him about PTSD! Does he talk about the war very much? You and I both know how important it is to air out our thoughts and feelings, it's so good for the souls and it would be so good for him! Beautiful poem! Say hello to your hero brother for me! Kathi


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

It's a valuable hub, horseback. Even now, the Vietnam vets need support. The treatment they received as they came back was unforgivable. They were not the ones responsible for that horrendous debacle. They did what our countrymen always do - sacrifice young lives (even if they don't die, their lives are forever altered) - while leaders play them like pieces on a checkerboard. Thanks for the reminder and my best wishes for your brother.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Eidwenn, I feel strongly about our vets , and particularly the Viet vets. They are so alone in thier present place! Thank you my dear.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Fossillady,Yes Kathi you are correct and I'm working on that angle ! Thank you for caring. :-]


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Nellieanna, Thats right ! I for one am really torn about our "Leaders" playing them. Unforgiveable! Be well my friend. We have lost control of "we the people " leading our own country. Especially today....


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..man oh man .... this is Wayne Brown/Will Starr territory ..lol - it's nice to see that you're keeping company with two of the best - and I'd bet they would be awful glad of your esteemed company too!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Epigramman, Thank you sir, I know now that America fails ! When it comes to honoring the promises made to, and the sacrifices given of old soldiers ! While so many of our resources are wasted on so many other things. Space travel, foriegn aid , The Military Industrial Complex , And now! Bailouts for GM, for Wall Street , for the banking "institutions " or industry as I would call it. Organized labor gets more help than the veteran in America. I , unfortunately have way more faith in our forefathers than I do in our leading fathers. Lets Do a hub on Veterans!.....Be well my friend.


daddysgirl 5 years ago

All men and women who have or are serving this country in any branch all deserve a purple heart! I know that may sound crazy to some.... As I have recalled before, " Any man that lays down his life for another shall have everlasting life" Most of us appreciate our troops! I really do say though that every man and woman that has not served should take a short trip to their local VA hospital and just sit in the waiting room. Truely it will turn your stomach to see an 80 + year old sit there for hours waiting to be seen by the dr with a grocwery bag full of pill bottles. Just one of the unjust things they have to endure. Made me think of grandpa sitting there hungry, waiting to be seen. I sat there for at least 3 hours and he was still waiting to be called into the examination room!! Well you know I could go on and on dad...love and hugs


daddysgirl 5 years ago

All men and women who have or are serving this country in any branch all deserve a purple heart! I know that may sound crazy to some.... As I have recalled before, " Any man that lays down his life for another shall have everlasting life" Most of us appreciate our troops! I really do say though that every man and woman that has not served should take a short trip to their local VA hospital and just sit in the waiting room. Truely it will turn your stomach to see an 80 + year old sit there for hours waiting to be seen by the dr with a grocwery bag full of pill bottles. Just one of the unjust things they have to endure. Made me think of grandpa sitting there hungry, waiting to be seen. I sat there for at least 3 hours and he was still waiting to be called into the examination room!! Well you know I could go on and on dad...love and hugs


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Daddys girl! I Love typing that !!! Yes thats right I agree , each person serving in wartime deserves that heart! More than that even .....They deserve our heartfelt vigilance in honoring the promise we gave.....oxoxoxoxoxoxo dad


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

I don't quite understand why , but it seems this hub has been unpublished , I can't seem to adjust the links , or the title or the content to satisfy the big wheels, I have decided after reviewing that if the content or subject is to controversial perhaps all of my hubs are! I am awaiting a review and wondering how to take this , any advice?

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