Memorial Day 1968

Dave Mann

There was smoke in the water in nineteen sixty-eight;
I was crying, asking why, and so much filled with hate;
Purple Haze was singing about 'fire in the skies'
When I killed you looking in at my startled eyes,
On the day I made us cry and die;

The air was nasty and stinking of you and me,
My legs so damned heavy with us trying to flee;
Choi Oi! you V.C. boy, why you come here numbah ten GI
With that wooden pack frame on your back
Filled with rockets for the RPG attack?

I came from California with an M14 on my knee,
I asked First Shirt let me take the point just to see;
I came from California finger itching destiny  what I want;
I guess dumbass you like me heard your buddies' taunt;
I don't know why my legs got so heavy too;

We got from Basic ready to waste the cong,
Folks might scared for us at LBJ's old cries;
Heavy pack frame man, heavy like beaucoup load of sighs,
Like that movie song, hippies and harleys and
Slow motion shooting always going off wrong;

Sorry 'bout that, you and me and all around;
Why you didn't say 'chui hoi' like they said you could?
My lips are locked and loaded,
Your mouth is wide open but not to speak;
Zinging in our ears from the stinging things in the air
Maybe made me not to listen to your plaintive sounds;

Tapes playing 'hey jude' and the stones singing 'say dude';
Platoon Radio has the Tower of Power, saying use 'em up,
Waste some dinks, put them weapons on rock and roll;
That pack frame slowed you down, turned your legs to wood,
Stole your life and mine, ' ... take this Cup from My hand!';

Tough it is you can't see all this from a medevac flying high;
You been down there quite awhile, didn't close your eyes
When lucky you went by on our road to do and die;
Critters in the bush made a recon out for a Meal Ready to Eat,
Started their chowline opposite from your feet;

The Chambers Brothers are singing about 'Time' today;
Maybe you heard some Hanoi group calling out the same;
Telling you and me that we soon come in to the Midnight Hour;
Hungry ants slippin' and a'slidin' and doing tha' bop,
Your absent eyes holding our  Ticket to Ride;

Who made that bamboo pack attack on your back?
Why the hell in this jungle  mess did The Carpenter
Bring us together both to kill and confess?
He won't let us carry our cross up the next hill,
Will He stay our fingers in the next night we must kill?

Rusty razor blades slicing on my soul, thanks lots for that;
I got a medal and you got the ants and it happened on a day
When I was filled with hate and fate  we made a date;
There was smoke in the water in Nineteen Sixty-eight,
There was fire in the sky on the day we made us die.

Dedicated to Sergeants Tome Le Jeune, Hugh G. Willard, 
Terry Wally and Tran van Dinh.  They were my friends.

Copyright © 2006 Dave Mann All rights reserved
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Added 1/30/2006