There is an existence somewhere in my mind, it lies at a point between my conscious and subconscious and sometimes, but not necessarily, in my un-conscious.
I can dream of it, remember it and ALWAYS anticipate and try to plan for it. And whether I be awake, asleep or NEITHER/NOR as sure as impulses electrify my thought patterns, out from the depths, up from the deep and screaming down from the sky as a revenge crazed demon it comes. Unmercifully, all enveloping and Soul possessing it comes, it comes, it comes, it so damn surely comes.
You are flung back as if it were happening right then. In a dream it happens, when awake it happens, and at a point somewhere in-between it so vivedly happens.
The smell, the flashes, the concussions, the explosions, the smell, the smell, the god-awful smell of powder and flesh and blood and screaming and crying and swearing...
" Those God Damn Bastard Sons of Bitches",...
the smell, the smell. The helplessness of being only ONE against eternity. You scream out in desperation, no one can hear, nor could YOU hear if anyone DID answer or cry out in their OWN yearning plea for help and comforting in their last instant of consciousness in THIS world, before, another flash, and another concussion, and a SCREAM silenced too soon. You do not have to wait for the inevitable sight of blood and the smell of powder and that SMELL of blood, of freshly butchered meat to know, ANOTHER is gone forever.
No NOT forever God, please NOT forever. And then it is over, you look to see that no-one has seen you vulnerable. You are SAFE then, now and yesterday's tomorrow. In your dream past you are ALIVE and can even manage a smile, weak but there. In your conscious present no-one has sensed that you were back THERE. They will not think you insane or crazy. You have won another battle. But...
the one demension that stares at you out of the black of the unknown, with Soul piercing yellow eyes is the FUTURE-self of your deepest inner psyche, your soul, your utter existence. There is a FEAR there. A fear that cannot be explained in words of mans knowledge in this existence or maybe even the next. A fear that only those who have stepped to the edge and looked into oblivion know. Only them and those who have stepped over forever know it. A fear that I wish upon no one. I would sell my eternal Soul to Satan himself to end ALL wars and to secure the guarantee of no more sons and daughters having to carry things the rest of their lives, and on to the grave, that are most unbearable.
I hope for the sakes of 58,000 K.I.A. and 73,000 Suicides since the Viet-Nam conflict, that the nightmares DO end with this life and the other side is all Loving and Peaceful. Maybe they can hear and see us and wish they could comfort us and tell us not to cry, Because there, there IS no more fear.
Mike RICE - Dong Ha River Security Group
Dong Ha/Cua Viet 6/66 - 3/69
Published in "SOLDIER'S HEART - Survivors' Views of Combat Trauma", Hansel, Steidle, Zaczek & Zaczek Sidran Press 1995