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The Coward

Updated on January 9, 2011

He was the coward of another county.

He was bullied and pushed around.

Just considered the village idiot,

In another small All-American town.

Fresh out of school,

The coward joined the Marines.

He went to a war in Vietnam

And ate a lot of beans.

But he was back in what they called,

The land of the free.

He now wanted to serve,

His friends and family.

The jobs were scarce,

And so were friends.

He tried to stand tall,

To all the bitter ends.

He didn’t shave.

He wore his hair long.

A war had changed him.

He heard a different song.

He was without a job,

And without a dime.

He was in the wrong place,

And in the wrong time.

Still, he hoed some gardens,

For some elderly folks.

While being the clown,

And the butt of jokes.

Still at minimum wage,

He carved a little niche.

He worked long and hard,

But he would never be rich.

A decade or so went by,

Still he lived alone.

Finally he married.

But soon she was gone.

His heart was destroyed.

It was on Caesar’s Head,

“I don’t love you.”

Was what he thought she said.

His mind was gone,

And his broken soul sank,

While at work she disappeared,

With all the money in the bank.

He knocked on a door,

But he glanced inside.

He saw another man,

With his blushing bride.

Still the coward of the county,

Never raised a hand,

Even seeing his wife,

In the lap of another man.

“Could I speak to her”,

He asked at the door.

She don’t want to listen,

To a coward anymore.”

Still he did nothing.

He said, “I still love you dear.”

He left and drove real slow.

He soon saw lights in the rear.

He entered his cabin,

Turned on one light.

Waited in a dark room,

For the spooks in the night.

The big truck came,

At least two were inside.

But wasn’t it the coward,

Who lost his bride?

Shots rang out.

The flashes weren’t new.

The coward saw it all before,

Serving the Red, White, and Blue.

But the coward,

Was running out of hope,

The coward was close,

To the end of his rope.

The next day he acquired,

A rifle and scope.

Still, he would obey,

His “Inner Gyroscope”.

Once again, that night,

The coward turned on one light.

He turned the TV on,

Like a man living alone.

He then dressed up,

As warmly as he could.

Across the road on the edge,

He sat down in the woods.

For hours the coward sat,

At his listening post.

Remembering a banana tree,

He once thought was a ghost.

He heard the rumble of the truck,

Close to midnight.

He prepared himself,

For his next fight.

It was a winding road,

They would have to drive slow.

The coward lined up the first shot.

The driver would be the first to go.

He was sure he could deal,

With a truck of red-necks?

It will be easy pickins,

After it wrecks.

But no shots were fired.

It would have taken only one.

For the coward wasn’t a coward.

He never did learn when to run.

As he watched the big truck disappear,

He focused on the passenger’s side.

Without a doubt he knew,

The silhouette of his bride.

And though the coward’s heart,

Continued to break,

He knew there was a limit,

To what a coward would take.

For hours and hours,

He stayed at his listening post.

Just waiting in ready,

For his next demon or ghost.

It was a couple hours toward dawn,

Without much daring or pluck

Left his bride’s lover,

A note on the big truck.

“Go ahead,

Kiss the ground.

You’re pretty lucky,

To be around.”

“You’re good at making,

Me look like a clown.

But the reason you’re here,

You didn’t fire another round.”

“Go ahead,

Thank God for what you’ve got.

You’re only here now,

Because you didn’t fire another shot.”

And the coward left.

His heart would never mend.

And over and over,

The coward plays it all out again.

There was no peace,

For this former Jarhead.

And he carried guilt,

And wished he were dead.

He was an honest man,

This ex-Marine.

But they kept putting out his fire,

With gasoline.

~Micky Dee~

This has been a true story. Most of my poems, if not all, are based on truth.

This poem, like many, is absolutely true.

I knew this Marine, very closely. ~Micky~


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    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      God bless you dear Peggy. You always lift your brother up. God bless you!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      She is the biggest fool of all to leave a good man like you and I hope that after the hurt of it all you can think of it in that way. Am so sorry that you had to experience this after having served your country in Viet Nam. God Bless you Micky! You are the hero in my book!

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Thank you brother Tony. There seem to always be some conflict in this world. God bless you!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Oh my brotherman! How can one man have to endure so much? You are a real man and I say without fear or condescension - love you, Micky my brother! You are a hero, not a coward.

      Love and peace


    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      God bless you lisadpreston. I waited decades to write this. It's not pretty. The truck was big and recognizable, It was more like a deuce and a half. I wanted to be a good person. People see my slight stature and assume that they're bullying can continue right on. I have taken quite a bit. But only so far. I have another tale or ten that I might write about. It's cleansing. I'm getting some closure. But not without tears of appreciation when I read a comment like yours. Thank you dear. God bless you. God bless you.

    • lisadpreston profile image


      7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      My stomach is in knots after reading this. This man is no coward and I wish I could hug him and make everything better. I grew up in the Vietnam war era. This subject is very touchy with me. As a young girl, I watched the movie "Deer Hunter" and "Dead Presidents". It is sickening to me when I see a homeless vet or a vet that is missing limbs and in a wheelchair begging for change. These men should be living like Kings. To all of the vets who faught for this country I want to say this:

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the sacrifices you made for me. I appreciate you and I honor you! You are all true heroes. And shame on this government.

      Micky, the bride in the pickup is a fool.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      God bless you pmccray. I've tried to turn the other cheek even when most of the cheek is missing. I was to the point of no return. One more shot would have brought a lot more. Things would be crazy different now. People ought to know better than to push somebody. Especially using the wife to push. God bless!

    • pmccray profile image


      7 years ago from Utah

      Captivating autobiopoem, riveting needs to be put to a melody. But I beg to differ my friend this man was no coward, but a REAL man. Anyone can take potshots or a life, but a real man just walks away to live and fight another day. Voted up, marked awesome and beautiful.

    • pan1974 profile image


      7 years ago from Columbus,Ga

      Wow, that was deep and sad. He was not a coward at all, that was a good man. Some people don't appreciate good men any more.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Coward? All I see is HERO---it takes a strong, brave and solid person to focus on "what" is right, when every ounce of his being is shouting out "who" is right........

    • The Suburban Poet profile image

      Mark Lecuona 

      7 years ago from Austin, Texas

      You're no coward man...

    • katiem2 profile image


      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Deep, very deep, it makes me wonder about all the little details left out! Hmmm my brother's a jar head. So many of us are having our fire put out with more gasoline.

      Your amazing! :) Katie

    • richtwf profile image


      7 years ago

      All things in life happen for many reasons

      and all have strength to face any demons.

      But those with the most courage of all

      is displayed by the brave soldiers of war.

      God bless you Brother and peace to you.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Micky, thank you for sharing this, I in my emotional state of mind found myself stopping and closing my eyes to be that Marine, maybe different elements, but just got it. Must not have been easy for you! Which is whom I care about. Thank you again. I love you and god bless


    • attemptedhumour profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      A very sad but true reflection of the ongoing casualties that a war creates. A difficult subject, but well handled Micky. Cheers from Oz.

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      It's a sad poem but so true in so many words. We all have stories to tell and yours is one of many in the Naked city of life. I hear you on this one brother, I've almost been there to and walked away a better man for doing so. peace

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Mick, this poem had me from the beginning. How many soldiers out there that fit this poem?

      as always, I enjoy your writings.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I couldn't hit "funny" on the button dance. Very powerful; and very personal.

    • Shelvajay profile image


      7 years ago from If You Know Me Personally, You Know Where I Am...

      This is a very profound writing, and I want to thank you for sharing.

    • DavePrice profile image


      7 years ago from Sugar Grove, Ill

      Semper Fi brother, you're never alone.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 

      7 years ago

      This is incredible, Micky. My excitement for your great writing is mixed with sadness for this fellow. Well done, my friend. You are a true artist.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Beautiful heart breaking poem, not a coward I think. This poem really brings the pain to my heart and I think the torment of war is not something we can understand if we have not served. God Bless you Mickey.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I give my big appreciation for you, my uncle. Good work and I always love you poem. Including this one, without exception. I always pray for you. Take care!


    • jandee profile image


      7 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      'No need to be scared if we are not alone',jandee

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      7 years ago from US

      That is sad, and I know it happened to you...Hope one day all the pains will turn into beautiful memories. We can only have too much and he is not a coward. Maita

    • miss_jkim profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, both sad and powerful! Leaves one in deep thought and reflection.

      No one knows, what those who serve our country in those distant, and hostile lands, go through. Every one is changed in some way when they return.

    • vietnamvet68 profile image


      7 years ago from New York State

      Brother Man that Marine is no Coward. Never was never will be. He is a man that has done it all and seen it all, I've been down that road with him and know what it's like. So tell that Marine to knock that shit off and get on down the road. For he's a special breed that will always bee.A broken heart will never heal. God Bless Brother Man

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Micky,I couldn't get through this without tears,Your pain is so vivid through your words.People say,"forget" and we must.You are no coward.Any man who fought in Nam is brave and honorable.When we lose someone we love,it breaks our heart and writing about it seems to help.Your poetry is special,esp. this one.God bless you and keep writing.You inspire so many my friend.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      My dearest friend, Micky... how my heart goes out to that ex-Marine you knew so very closely. I know that horrible pain he felt. I really don’t think he deserved that pain, for he must have had a heart of gold to love a woman with a cheating heart. Please give him a hug on my behalf whenever you see him. And thumbs up for you, sir, for telling his story so beautiful, discreetly and heart-touching. God bless, Micky Dee!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      A beautiful poem Mickey. The Cross at the top and the very first verse had me. It got me to think of how Jesus might have been perceived by the Pharisees, as he wandered from town to town, village to village addressing the various crowds of people.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      God bless! Thank you dear ones!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      If you cannot go an entire day without thinking of someone;

      it is not over!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Oh my dear Micky I say to you as tears fall down my face, it hard to write through this blaze of haze & tears. I have always known about this deep dispare inside you heart, soul and mind. Shake it, like I try to shake mine ever second of everyday. You are a true prince but you pain will kill you. Love you rate up darski

    • Freya Cesare profile image

      Freya Cesare 

      7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

      I hate sad story, mostly when it is sound like someone I knew. T.T :( Big hug for you, King Micky!

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 

      7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thank you for sharing the story with me, Micky.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Thank you all. This was a part of my life and for a while one of the darkest in ways. I guess it was extended torturing phase. I've never written about it or told anyone. And I might retire from this page for a bit. God bless!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      A sad state of affairs in verse. Sometimes what seem cowardly is not at all and the better man walks away to move on with life. Thanks for sharing Mick! WB

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Mic', life is strange a feller wants and needs love on Lachonookie Island remembering the days of love by a little beauty in his eye and life, while other fellers damn near get proposals sight unseen, save a little picture in the left upper half, and he want's nothing to do with them, kindly brushing off the offers made.

      It reminds me of AIT, the Corps would issue the smallest guy a mortar tube and plate to hump, while the biggest guy got a .45 pistol and 10 mortars to carry.

      An out of balance world to say the least, peace and Love, dusty

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Outstanding poem Mickey, thank you for sharing.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      7 years ago from Great Britain

      heartwrenching but brilliant, Micky., l wish l could take your pain away. love you, man x

    • justom profile image


      7 years ago from 41042

      Your words break me down brother. Justin and I love you!! Peace!! Tom

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Expectation of service paid by dis-service is seeminglr tragically normal...

    • blackreign2012 profile image


      7 years ago

      your talent is brilliant and I always enjoy reading your work Mickey ~Hugs~

    • BobbiRant profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      What a poem, indeed. Interesting words and they make us think about the word 'Hero' and while a war is going on some are 'heroes' until the war ends. If the war ends badly and makes the 'officials' look bad, then it is swept under a rug. Not a good practice. Bless you. Great poem. Even if it is not about war explicitly, it is how my mind runs. Hopefully it didn't run in a far fetched direction.


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