War and History Poetry posted May 13, 2014

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War is Hell...

The Darkest Door

by Dean Kuch

Behind The Door Contest Winner 

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

The Darkest Door


The darkness closes in again—I do not want this to begin,

try as it might, it musn't win, lest I fall back towards ways of sin ...

It tears at me with sharpened knives, looks on my form with vengeful eyes.

Can you hear the muffled baby's cries? I sit alone and utter— Why?


The darkness taunts me with faint light, to make me feel that all is right,

yet, I know I must win this fight, so I wage war with all my might...

It began way back in sixty-four— back in the Nam, engulfed in war

a tender lad, who days before, excellent in life at twenty-four...


But now, it all has gone to shit, and here I am, in spite of it.

Why can't God simply make it quit, my shattered soul, so scarred and split?

I flinch from every tiny noise, the giggles of little girls and boys,

runs through my fevered mind like glass, I want it all to end, at last...


The first grown man that I saw cry; my friend, Big Jim, the day he died;

a crumpled letter soaked in blood, when mortar rounds caked us in mud.

Please, give this to my wife and boy, tell both of them they were my joy

he closed his eyes as if to sleep, I held him, then began to weep...


I see his face at night in dreams, awakened by my raucous screams,

I never got that letter there, his hauntings add to my despair...

His wife and son, they never knew, I'd buried Jim; he told me to

so Charlie wouldn't defile his corpse— listed MIA by the Corps.


I've killed more than I care to mention, with every single new invention,

the Pentagon gave Marines to use—women, old men, some children too.

Close enough each time to smell their fear, their stares into my brain are seared,

their screaming echoes in my head, malevolent torments of the dead.


I swear, I can't walk through that door, I can't take living any more,

but doors won't stop the darkness— hell... it knows how to get me all too well.

Big Jim—and all you others too—hang tight, Marines, I'm joining you.

Darkness whispers in my ear, come on, Marine, nothin' to fear...


I never hear the shotgun blast, as skull and brain are ravaged fast;

my heart then skips a beat or two, yet here the darkness finds me too.

As everything I'd know before, becomes a puddle on the floor

I thought I'd left the screams behind, that's not the case in hell, I find...


Forever, torment set in stone, I pray to God He'll call me home.

Your home is where you make it, son,  you had your chance, yet still, you shun

my offering to comfort you, there's nothing even I can do.

All those whom I had slaughtered there, just sat and watched with baleful stare...


Writing Prompt
Write a poem that describes what is behind the door. Any type of poetry welcomed.

Behind The Door
Contest Winner


*Charlie - Nickname given to the Viet Cong Freedom Fighters by U.S. forces.

*MIA - Abbreviation for Missing In Action

Let's face it. Vietnam was a living, breathing horror show for anyone who had the misfortune of being deployed there. They rarely came back home the same as they were before, after they'd seen the things they saw, and did the things they were forced to do...

Changing attitudes toward mental health care mean that veterans suffering from PTSD and other psychiatric conditions are now more willing to come forward. The uncertainties of older age, and possibly the decade-long spectacle of the current wars, may in fact be triggering relapses of PTSD among some veterans.

More attention has recently been given to the prevention of adolescent suicide and suicide in the elderly than to suicide in mid-life.
Recent statistics for the United States show the suicide rate among the 40 to 60 age group is 23.14 per 100,000 for males. These figures indicate that the suicide rate for middle-aged men is actually higher than the rate for men in younger age groups. A critical gap exists in our knowledge about the epidemiology and prevention of suicide in middle-aged men, perhaps reflective of the reluctance of males in this age group to seek help.
Approximately 9.2 million individuals served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam-era period (August 1964 to April 1975), of whom about 3.4 million were deployed in Vietnam. Almost four decades later, Vietnam-era veterans currently make up about 23% of men in the age group of 40 to 60 years old in the US. The estimates of successful suicides among Vietnam-era veterans is astronomical.

Thanks for reading, as always...

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