Been there done that

  • Published in MyView

I have a hat I wear
Sometimes
Caked with dirt and sweat
Showing its age 
Like the head it sits on
It reads
Vietnam
Been there done that
A conversation piece
But few ever notice 
And fewer still respond
Perhaps the words are hard to see
The letters faded
Like the memories behind them
Perhaps the words are hard to bear
Better ignored than acknowledged
Like the plight of those
Who have been there
And done that

Some do respond
Were you in Vietnam?
A nod
Thank you for your service

Thank you for your service
I have served nothing 
But a dripping plate 
Of death and blood
To strangers
And a heaping bowl of grief
To the ones I love
I have served no one
But old men with fantasies
Paid with young men's lives
I am the blunt instrument of oppression
The spear point of fear
Thank you for your service

I want to scream 
At the naive complicity
In the crimes we commit
But I don't
I nod and smile
And walk away
Basking in the brief distinction
Of one who's been there
And done that

Peter P. Mahoney is a Vietnam veteran who lives in Warren.