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Viet Everywhere

Brady Bowen 1973 (Louisiana)

A man paces outside my bedroom door
not a plodding stomping ambulation
oh no
these are the softly lowered footsteps of
the cat you see, he hunts a version of himself that vanished while he wiped an eyebrow off of his face less than two minutes forty-five seconds on base because 20th Century Fox didn’t even have time to finish before a PFC with the accent of Appalachia ate a sniper’s bullet for breakfast and just threw up everything on his crisp green. Even eyebrows.

Murmured discourse of battles gone
flow under my door like whispersmoke
Doc Tho, on alert, of course it’s insane it’s
The Nam, overrun, KIA MIA POW TOD
a hundred acronyms written in olive drab

it doesn’t scare me now
I peeked last week
as he froze I froze heart hammering
but I instantly knew
I was safe if only
I don’t enter Viet Fucking Livingroom

Back into my bed I climb
he’ll be quiet and somber in the morning
I’ll awaken before everyone else
smiling as I walk into last night’s war zone
and climb into his lap on his old recliner
he’ll startle like an electric shock
heat lightning in bloodshot vigilance
then fold his arm around me

the house is silent but for the sound of cool air flowing through aluminum arteries
a starling sings needle needle threedle nee
and though I am small in Viet Living Room
I feel invincible in the warrior’s arms
until my sister cries

About this poem

In honor of the 118th Aviation Company (US Army) Call signs “Sweet Steve” “Touchstone” “El Paso” and many more who left the most hopeful versions of themselves in Southeast Asia

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Written on August 17, 2022

Submitted by BradyB999 on August 17, 2022

Modified by BradyB999

1:21 min read

Discuss this Brady Bowen poem with the community:

  • teril
    This is a powerful and sobering poem: physical landmarks and psychological landmines. You succeeded in sharing your night and your memories.
    LikeReplyReport1 month ago
  • rnadc
    So much is good about this piece. Yet, "aluminum arteries" is my biggest takeaway.
    LikeReplyReport2 months ago


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"Viet Everywhere" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 3 Dec. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/134459/viet-everywhere>.

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