KINGS of the GREEN JELLY MOON presents a searing collection of poetry written by a group of Vietnam veterans-each successful in their craft, all award-winning poets in their own right. The title Kings of the Green Jelly Moon recalls the innocence of childhood, a time when children believed the moon was made of green cheese. Then Vietnam changed an innocent generation as truth of war became their reality. From the impact of war on young men and how they are forever changed to the stark reality that ﬁghting in a foreign country, the poems in the collection oﬀer, in verse, a Vietnam veterans' reunion.
These soldiers were forever changed by the experience that war forces upon those who ﬁght and return from battle. Those who were lost can never be forgotten.
"Kings of the Green Jelly Moon bares the still aching soul of the Vietnam veteran. Whether the writers pick at the scab, pour salt into a still bleeding wound, or lave on cooling salve to ease the hurt, the poetry herein will make a lasting impression the reader will not soon forget."
-D. H. Brown, award-winning author of Honor Defended and Honor Due
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)|
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Kings of the Green Jelly MoonThe Book, Volume 1.5
By Lloyd King jim greenwald James Jellerson Mike Mullins
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Lloyd King, jim greenwald, James Jellerson, and Mike Mullins
All right reserved.
The air is different here.
Tension clings to you like
a glove two sizes too small.
I try not looking into their
eyes ... for fear of seeing their
terror, their fear.
Loud noises causing panic in
their reactions, indecision in
The intermixed smells of fear
and death invade the pores of
the body, leaving an unsettled feeling.
Sleep comes far more easily
than rest ... if at all.
At times thoughts turn to later,
to home, and what it would be
like now to be there.
Thoughts quickly banished from
the mind if one wants to stay
sharp ... stay alive.
Combat is only a game before
you become a teenager.
Then you die for real.
Isn't It Strange
Lord, I was born into a poor home.
I grew up quick, I was left alone.
It hurt inside ... isn't it strange?
I became a soldier and picked up a gun.
I was moving around having lots of fun,
'til the killing began ... isn't it strange?
Remember in school, the Golden Rule
"Do unto others; don't judge a book by its cover
or a man by his skin" ... isn't it strange?
Black and white, yellow and red,
killing each other over words that were said.
Such a child's game ... isn't it strange?
The world today is like a child at play,
country killing neighbor because
they never learned to say, "Maybe I'm wrong."
Isn't it strange?
They don't like us, we don't like them,
let's push the button, bring our world to an end.
We'll spend eternity ... together as one.
A Young Soldier's Fancy
When the night allowed any luxury
It was a folded, smelly, flak jacket
'Neath his weary head
Covered by a silky poncho liner
On the ground, damp and clammy wet.
Mother Earth was his bed.
The young soldier's fancy sailed home,
His future e'er and always the same to him,
Including the car he'd have.
College or a good job were in the dream,
The open arms of a round-eyed girl too ...
A welcome from a home he left.
Each night when Lady Luck on him smiled and
A young soldier laid, arms folded, eyes upward,
Visiting his naïve dreamland.
When he boarded that Silver Bird, made the trip,
And had one of those things come true, Hoorah!
I guess one out of three ain't bad!
I was a squad leader and I'd only been in the jungle eleven days.
A fully trained buck sergeant, but feeling lost in so many ways.
I couldn't stop shaking and my heart was pounding in my chest
Knowing that I had to prove myself worthy, like passing a test.
We'd been humping in the steep mountains ever since I arrived.
The company had been in a firefight and most of them survived.
But, after the firefight, there were only six men left in my squad.
Everyone said it was a miracle they were alive ... an act of God.
Two were wounded seriously and two others had tragically died.
The survivors had to pull the weight of ten, as the order implied.
I was a nervous wreck finding out about my squad's recent fate.
New replacements was a moot issue, we'd simply have to wait.
Stand-to was at 0600, and unbelievably I was told we had point.
Fast Eddie, my automatic rifleman, promptly rolled another joint
Then informed me he couldn't function unless he was on a high.
I told him "No," took his hash, and thought he was going to cry.
I decided to walk point knowing I had personal issues to prove.
I struggled forward, but the dense jungle made it tough to move.
I kept climbing the steep slope until I finally reached the crest
Soaked with sweat, breathing heavy, burning pains in my chest.
I signaled halt ... spread the guys out, so I could recon a clearing.
I didn't like the eerie feeling and unknown sounds I was hearing.
A peculiar odor was permeating the air making me very uneasy.
My nerves were on edge ... stomach in knots ... and I felt queasy.
Scanning the clearing I saw something in my peripheral vision.
I turned quickly and spotted the VC, requiring a quick decision.
I yelled, "Dung yen," meaning "don't move," repeatedly to the VC
But when he reached for his rifle, I knew it would be him or me.
I stood, face-to-face, staring at my very first Vietcong guerrilla.
He was a short, skinny kid and had skin the color of pure vanilla
Wearing long, black pants and shirt which were worn and tattered,
But in that fleeting second of my life, only one thing mattered.
I crouched down fast, squeezed the trigger and fired three rounds.
My slack man reacted instinctively and responded to the sounds,
Spun around quickly, as he fired his grenade launcher or M-79.
His single round hit the VC in the gut a split second after mine.
I'd never seen a person shot before or blood and flesh splatter.
I watched in complete horror as his tiny body began to shatter.
His left bicep, right knee, and abdomen mutilated beyond belief,
I stood frozen, totally shocked, feeling a deep, emotional grief.
My grenadier and squad were all smiles, patting me on the back,
I tried to settle the guys down because I was afraid of an attack,
But nothing else happened so we began digging in for the night.
Yet, all I could think about was his body and the horrible sight.
After my squad was squared away I had to confront my anguish.
Wondering if he was married with kids and if he had a last wish,
I couldn't leave him lying there without burying him properly.
His death was strictly personal and again between him and me.
I got out my trenching tool, pretending to go and relieve myself,
But instead, I solemnly dug a grave rather than thinking of self.
While I was digging, the tears began to flow until I couldn't see.
Yet still I asked angrily, "Why the hell didn't you listen to me?"
I dug a trench and covered the bottom with big palmetto leaves
And carefully placed his body in the grave adjusting his sleeves,
I straightened both legs, then folded both arms across his chest
Telling him under the circumstances I was doing my very best.
I told him that he was the first enemy I had ever seen or killed
And tried to explain to him his fate had apparently been willed.
I recited the Lord's Prayer then I read the Twenty-Third Psalm
And when finished felt relief, but knew I'd have no inner calm.
Walking back to my squad I kept seeing his expressionless look.
The empty look I'd seen vividly with each round his body took.
I'll never forget his cold stare or how bullets hitting flesh sound,
Nor ever forget the sight of his blood soaking the fertile ground.
My very first kill remains indelible because of how it took place.
Staring into my enemy's cold eyes for the first time, face-to-face,
Knowing I had to take a life or lose mine, neither willing to give,
Both of us proud, infantry soldiers, and both determined to live.
I spent the night building his cross and at daybreak set it in place.
Then quietly spent some time with him, part of my morning grace.
I apologized to him for taking his life and being where I had been.
I saluted his grave, said he had been brave then said a final Amen.
why speak into the wind
there is a blackness that surrounds me,
an ebony shell that holds the world at bay
in some perverted logic.
within the core of my being
there are memories that twist
the core of each nerve.
the rawness of the emotion creates
a sense of drowning
here ... awash in my memories.
objective thought a waste,
at best dubious, nothing attained ...
the world cannot see inside of me.
there are realities and questions,
pains, sorrows, and wishes for memory loss ...
questioning the whys, questioning the answers.
advice I do not need...suck it up, a waste ...
how little they see, much less hear ...
if only someone really cared.
blood-filled dreams, napalmed bodies ...
pick up the pieces of friends in an orange rain ...
walk away and be pleased ~ could you remain sane?
Combat Veteran's Perspective
Let us not forget
those who served.
Let us not forget
Let us not forget
Freedoms that are cherished
Those who served
And those who perished.
One by One
Today I sit with bittersweet
Recollection of that fall,
Their faces I know, forever engraved.
All their names ... I no longer can recall,
Side by side we all stood, when the day first begun
Sharing our hopes, our joys, and dreams.
By night we lay shattered, victims of truth,
Our bodies, broken and torn at the seams,
And as the smoke cleared, the stillness of night
Sighed a relief, with the setting sun.
Crimson rivers ran deep, through once green valleys.
A nation's wealth, spent one by one,
The hills we climbed, that hallowed ground,
Are now graveyards, unmarked without stone.
So many children, sent so far away,
So many lifetimes, now without a home.
We were young, we were strong, so invincible,
A generation of heroes unborn.
Our ideals, our principles, our purpose to be,
Now left with those who would mourn.
If there be victory, what price do we pay?
Wherein lies the glory to say, "We've Won"
If a nation that prides itself in wealth
Spends its greatest treasures, one by one.
Those who sent us did not have the courage
To let us succeed in what they asked us to do.
A spider web is life's strongest material.
Nothing else is its equal in creation.
Scientists consider only Mother Nature.
None study the bond of the soldier.
War's tribulations have been shouldered
In harm's way, in darkness, rain, and fear.
There is an inexplicable link weaved
Defying words, handshakes, and years.
Gatherings of those who shared the life
Know the strength of that unseen bond.
Years apart are only moments in passing,
When the warriors fraternity reunites.
We had the heart to engage an enemy and
The humor to laugh away the pain of duty.
We have the need to gather when we can.
Together we remember in fleeting solemnity.
We know what we did and could have done,
And those stories remain on memory's shore.
Wyatt, Weil, Brooks, Brown, Bales,
Lato, Mullins, Robinson, Gascon, Dale ...
And all the rest we salute while we gather ...
Names of boys who became men in that place.
As the movie says:
For we were soldiers once, and young.
Bright, cheerful, full of purpose they
walk into the sun.
Sure of what they are doing ...
sure of their mission.
Thoughts of glory replaced in a flash
by the reality of war.
Body bags on the tarmac,
a reality check for all.
A look ... sorrow wells up inside for them ...
for their families.
Quickly banished from the mind, it won't
happen to me, I will be more careful ... more alert.
Get my tour over and home, no time to think
about the bodies on the tarmac, now but a distant memory.
Daily slogging through jungle terrain takes all your
concentration, danger exists everywhere.
Staying alert wears you down.
Time rolls on, soon it will be time to
Leave ... to return to sanity.
Bright, cheerful, full of purpose they
walk into the sun.
Sure of what they are doing ...
sure of their purpose.
I am going home.
I wonder if that soldier walking by
notices me in this bag.
I am going home.
The song in my dream plays notes that are full of sorrow.
The song played last night and may play again tomorrow.
This song violates my privacy of black and white dreams
And turns gentle waters into crimson, blood-filled streams.
Streams that once sparkled crystal clear now full of death.
Their agony, quickly suffocating each bodies last breath.
The sounds of the song make me stop and make me realize
That I have so much to learn, that I'm far from being wise.
Shifting positions and ebbing like the tides of my thought,
Changing in a moment those believing life can be bought,
I tried in vain to convince myself the song really can't be
Like a hidden disease attacking the heart of a dying tree.
I will fight the song's sorrow the way I've always fought
For self-preservation and sanity hoping I'm never caught.
The song has an evil tone, a bad spirit with a broken note,
Full of eerie crescendos like a never-ending odious quote.
The song in my dream is uppermost in my sleeping mind.
Within my subconscious each note haphazardly entwined,
The song was written long ago, but now it's playing to me.
I swear to God I will resist the evil; I will never set it free.
Soon I'll be fighting in a war filled with blood and sorrow.
I hear the song now, and I hope it doesn't play tomorrow.
Pick-up games in backyards,
All day Saturday at the beach with friends.
After the game showing your girl the lights,
And movie matinees that never end.
Family vacation by the lake at Castaic,
Going to San Diego to do my basic.
At home friends at parties "throwing up"
While I responded to "Corpsman up."
High School scene
Friends looking into eyes of green, blue and fair,
I gazed into eyes that reflected only the death stare.
Time is gone,
Friends worry, don't get caught, get home safe to bed,
I worry, don't get caught, stay alive, get home instead.
War is done,
Still the memories continue to linger on,
Won't be the same, too much pain, and innocence now gone.
Even in a war zone every soldier needs a refuge.
Somewhere there is a place that is a comfort zone.
That place is where we withdraw from the deluge.
It is where they and their dreams are safely alone.
It takes on many forms and others do not define it.
There they drag their souls out of war's black pit.
It may be a bunker, or just some cardboard shack.
Perhaps it is a tree keeping the sun off their backs;
A poncho rolled under a head, face covered in steel;
A secluded place where they have a solitary meal;
It is that soldier's space, his own place of solitude.
There is no war there, only thoughts of peace abide.
If reality comes crashing through the invisible wall
They are reminded again that there really is a war.
The whistle of a rocket overhead is a miss for sure.
The blast in your face is never the same as before.
Each time is closer; the refuge may be destroyed.
Rebuild it; don't give in; keep the spirits buoyed.
Rockets, mortars, snipers, and bombs of all kinds,
Shatter the hell out of every comfort zone, in time.
They must be encouraged for the warrior's sanity.
In a war zone nothing else is such a place of clarity.
Dig out, dig in; retrieve that place, that sanctuary.
It may be more important than the guns they carry.
I never knew
how painful war was
how senseless killing is
how pointless it is
I never thought
how the enemy's mom must feel
how the enemy's children would fair
how I would deal with the emotions—
I came to care
how things ... lives intermeshed
how others felt
how I could help
I came to kill
to win the war
I never knew there is only one victor in war
~ Advantage DEATH ~
Minds lifted skyward by silver wings
Soon to experience life altering things
Far away from home across an ocean
Bemused without the slightest notion.
Blank stares pierce portholes into space
Provoking thoughts of a foreign place
Reflecting silently about leaving home
Mirrored by thoughts of feeling alone.
Wings slice vapors shielding cobalt blue
Spanning the horizons in varying hue
Touching minds with chaotic emotion
Accelerated by times unseen motion.
Grooved treads kiss the steaming tarmac
While visions of a yearlong bivouac
Cross their subconscious, unconsciously
Watching others leaving ... enviously.
Individuals cast randomly into their roles
Surviving one of their primary goals
Mired in questions with hearts throbbing
With forlorn hope and silent sobbing.
Stealing glances at each incredible scene
Haunted by the things yet to be seen
Heckled insensitively by soldiers leaving
Morbidly compounding inner grieving.
Pallid faces of soldiers staring curiously
Absorbing images nonsanctimoniously
Opening eyes to things, before now, surreal
Once verbalized, but sounding so unreal.
Rows and rows of black, tagged, body bags
Induce queasy feelings and a few gags
Consciously witnessing the reality of war
Training thoughts meaningless before.
Soldiers frozen in place gripped by fear
Starting day one of their combat year
Hoping prayers for continued life are heard
So they, too, will board a Freedom Bird.
Excerpted from Kings of the Green Jelly Moon by Lloyd King jim greenwald James Jellerson Mike Mullins Copyright © 2011 by Lloyd King, jim greenwald, James Jellerson, and Mike Mullins. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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