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The Verdict
. NOW Well, GI Jack is welcome back, he left his legs in 'Nam. He wakes at night in sweat and fright, then drinks another dram. He doesn't know quite where to go, so seeks his uncle, Sam. BEFORE One can't ignore - his ma was poor, and seasons sometimes cruel, yet Jack was brave and well behaved and surely no one's fool so joined the ranks that man the tanks, as soon as he left school He learned to kill our foes at will (ordained a sacred rite) then packed his bag, unfurled his flag, when sent away to fight. And yes, the tide was on our side (for, clearly, might makes right) Through tangled days in jungles' maze, he sought the enemy behind the trees where, ill at ease, he fought the Yellow sea - upon the waves of gravelled graves he sailed a killing spree The napalm dropped and cooked the crops, charred huts along the way and tanks, with zest, erased the rest, their villages of clay. (Yes, turret guns are loads of fun with roaring roundelay.) While on the hunt with other grunts, he burned some babes alive and wondered why frail things must die, while evil's phantoms thrive - (When folly ends, he'll make amends if only he'll survive) With booby traps (sticks smeared with crap), yes, Charlie fought unfair. He hid in holes with snakes and voles and snuck up everywhere and like a mite within the night, caught Jackie unaware At battle's end, Jack sought his friends - their souls were washed away and only he and destiny were left in disarray - with bed and pan, just half a man, the man of yesterday When Jack awoke beyond the smoke, his frame no longer whole, he found instead some suture thread neath wraps to hide the hole, and realized a further prize: a chair on wheels to roll His head felt light, as well it might, at Victory Day Parade (across his chest, you've surely guessed, his medals shone, arrayed) for when he rolled, while others strolled, his boots no longer weighed AFTER Well, Jack stayed home (no roads to Rome) to start his life anew receiving dole which took its toll as largess went askew for sure enough, when times got tough, his uncle, Sam, withdrew To walk the streets with fine elites (or else some bum who begs) or find a job (or even rob) requires both your legs. And those who can't, are viewed askant like those we call the dregs. For getting by he tried to ply and mine his medals' worth - a wooden cup, a mangy pup, a smirk when miming mirth, and best of all, at midnight’s call, beneath a bridge, a ‘berth’ He clutched a sign 'A dime to dine?', if anybody cared, but soon he found, as time unwound, that victors seldom shared. And Jackie's pride was slowly fried by vacant eyes that stared ENLIGHTENMENT He took to drink to break the link with thoughts of what he'd done and threads of doubt began to flout the yarns Big Brother spun of freedom's ring and other things, like what it was we'd won His vague unease arrayed a breeze with words that chilled the air and like the fogs above the bogs, they floated through the square where people sat at tea to chat, and shrieked 'How could he dare?' Yes, freedom's price is never nice: like storms before the flood the Daily Rag was on a jag, was looking out for blood, deemed Jackie's thoughts untamed and fraught, then dragged him through the mud By hacking clues, they plucked his views like grapes upon the vine. Big Brother came, blamed Jackie's name for thinking out of line, shut Jack away from light of day, eclipsing freedom’s shine The Junto Brass, with eyes of glass, were robed in fine array to hear the words (though slightly slurred) the witness gasped to say, while Justice snored (the waterboard awash with Perrier) Well, Jack was charged with laws enlarged in secret dossiers within the guise of spreading lies and leading thoughts astray - The Jury's out... the rabble shout “well someone's gotta pay” The Judge (who fears the mind’s frontiers) inclined his head to yawn while making haste through courtroom waste, though slightly pale and wan. (A voodoo Loon withdraws as soon as Night condemns the Dawn.) ETERNITY While in his cell, the verdict fell - the sighs of Silence, rife While in his cell, the verdict fell - the Reaper played a fife While in his cell, the verdict fell - the price was Jackie's life EPILOGUE Well Jackie's ghost, unlike the most, still mused upon the praise for misdeeds done in victories won when cruising in a craze, and once again upon the sin of thinking, nowadays where, cunningly, humanity’s served lies, and trust betrays. Then, reconciled, it simply smiled at fortune's wanton ways. EPITAPH A mind was caught while thinking thoughts neath Sammy’s prying gaze and forced to stop by concept cops, else join the castaways. For now it's law to hold in awe the brave new world's malaise and cerebrate with programmed pate, adorned with thorned bouquets, then mimic mimes in troubled times - and no one disobeys. With freedom’s death, truth holds its breath awaiting better days.
Copyright © 2021 Terry O'Leary. All Rights Reserved