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Collision Course by Lawerence E. Mize

On a collision course,
Don't know why.
Thoughts of Nam
Make me cry.

Cast adrift
In a sea of the past.
PTSD has claimed me.
Lord, long at last.

Don't know where I'm going.
Only where I've been.
Memories of Nam
Keep reeling me in.

Older now,
Haven't grown.
Stuck in Southeast Asia
Hearing helpless moans.

Saw men die.
Bore witness to it all.
Like sticks of wood
They had to fall.

Feel the shame
For what I've done.
No one to blame;
I'm the only one.

Bear the guilt for leaving
Those I had come to know.
I had to live.
They had to go.

I didn't pick
And couldn't choose.
God took his numbers.
They flashed them on the news.

Want to let go.
Be rid of the dreams.
Forget the faces.
Turn off the screams.

I struggle to cope.
Try to blend in.
Be like everyone else.
Forget where I've been.

I'm a cop, a cop...
Neighbor's best friend.
Searching for answers.
Waiting for the end.

Some call me hero.
Don't know why.
I fought to live.
Tried hard not to die.

I've survived.
Made it this far.
Fight the urge
To belly up to a bar.

I stand on corners.
Holding my sign.
Beg for pennies.
Committing no crimes.

I'm housed in prisons
All across the land.
Say, brother...
Won't you lend me a hand.

I'm at the VFW.
American Legion too.
Joined the many.
Part of the few.

I want to understand.
Know the why.
My friends...my friends
Had to die.

About this poem

This was one of my first poems I ever published in my first little book of poetry titled Tortured Soul in 1997 when I first began to deal with my issues of PTSD from Vietnam. That first collection is long out of print and the publisher no longer exists so I published it again in My Long Journey in Baltimore, Dorrance Publishing 2019. A lot of veterans suffer from PTSD and it continues to cling and hold us long after our service. I just thought it was worth bringing out again.

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Written on June 01, 1983

Submitted by larrymize on August 08, 2022

1:43 min read

Lawerence E. Mize

Lawerence E. Mize was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1949. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a medical corpsman with the 101st Airborne Division. A month after his eighteenth birthday he began his one year tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. He served with the "Screaming Eagles," of the 101st Airborne Division as a combat medic with A Company of the 2/501st Airmobile Division. On completing his military obligation he returned home to Baltimore and joined the Baltimore City Police Department at the age of twenty-one. Mize went on to serve with the Baltimore City Police Department for the next twenty-nine years retiring as a Sergeant in 1999. Mize then went on to become a District Court Bailiff in 2003. He left that position in 2018 and now likes to spend his time riding his bicycle, writing poems, and traveling with his wife Sandy whom he has been married to for the last forty-eight years. They have two sons, Lawerence Jr. and Nicholas. Mize has self-published six books of poetry since 1997, to include two works about his experiences in Vietnam, "Tortured Soul and Dead Men Calling, (both published by American Literary Press, Inc. Baltimore, Maryland), both of which helped Lawerence deal with the painful memories of Vietnam; a book of poems he dedicated to his wife, Sandy, titled "Thoughts of You," (Tate Publishing & Enterprises, Mustang, Oklahoma); a book of poems about life and dying titled "Reflections," (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC); a collection of poems about Mize's life growing up in Baltimore, his experiences in Vietnam, and speak to the riot and looting in Baltimore in 2015 and the aftermath with all its violence in the city since titled, "My Long Journey In Baltimore," (Dorrance Publishing Co. Pittsburgh, PA); and his latest work in 2021 titled "Baltimore...A City Besieged," in which Mize takes us on a poetic tour of Baltimore and provides us with a chilling account of what life is like for Baltimore's residents with over 300 homicides in the last six years. more…

All Lawerence E. Mize poems | Lawerence E. Mize Books

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