I was with Special Force, blue-X-ing raids to OK surfing on the Colonel's birthday. Operation Ariel: we sprayed Jimi Hendrix loud from helis to frighten the slopes before 'palming. A turkey shoot.
The Nang fogged up. The men you need are moral and kill like angels. Passionless. No judgement. Judgement defeats us. You're choosing between nightmares all the time. My first tour, we hissed into an encampment early afternoon, round two. The new directive, polio. Inoculating kids. It took a while. As we left, this old man came up, pulled on our back-lag jeep-hoods, yacking. We went back. They'd come behind us, hacked off all the inoculated arms. There they were in a pile, a pile of little arms.
Soon after, all us new recruits turned on to angel-dust like the rest. You get it subsidized out there. The snail can' t crawl on the straight razor and live. I'm innocent.
(This poem was Commended in the 1992 National Poetry Competition)