Monday, April 17, 2017

Baptism by Bullets


image from saatchiart.com


Baptism by Bullets

“I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.”
--Issac Assimov.

In 1967, when I was in the service, I feared combat
--and I worked very hard to maintain my clerical 
MOS. Why play hopscotch on the freeway? I had been
taught that fear is good, essential for survival. Beware
the fearless man, for he was an idiot--death in a hat.

I used to have a reoccurring nightmare. I was on patrol,
deep in country--walking point. Suddenly we were 
ambushed, The jungle canopy was alive with active
sniper fire--gunshots blossoming all around us. The
nine of us were cut to pieces, and we all went to 
ground.

Out of the bush, the Cong appeared. I was wounded in 
several places, but I played dead. They jabbered a bit 
in their clipped sing-song, & then the gunshots began.
They were shooting the wounded. A shadow crossed my
face. I felt the barrel of a rifle against my temple. I heard
the discharge, as a dark rainbow of ballistics exploded
in my head. But then I realized that miraculously I was
still alive. The universe was telling me that they couldn’t
kill me. I always awakened shaken but smiling.

A jungle is not
a garden. Death awaits you.
Do not befriend it.  


 Glenn Buttkus

13 comments:

Toni Spencer said...

Truly. Death is not your friend. Excellent form. No punc though in the haiku or uppercase letters. but the haiku is truth.

Kate Mia said...

Truth
Is Essence
And Lies as Truth..
Fear is
Form
As Essence..:)

Frank Hubeny said...

Scary dream. I can see how it would generate fear.

Grace said...

I agree, an all too real nightmare and thankfully it was all a dream ~ I also like your quote and your deadly haiku Glenn ~

Gayle Walters Rose said...

Very frightening nightmare, Glenn, one that could have been true if you had seen combat...so glad you didn't.

Mark Walters said...

There's nothing wrong with clerical work, Glenn. That's a great choice. I wanted to be in the Air Force (being raised an Air Force brat). However, polio made me 4-F. Thinking how reckless I was back then, it was probably something that saved my life. Typing and filing can be dangerous if they're done in the wrong place.

Kim Russell said...

It's hard to imagine military service when you've never been in the armed forces, so this was an eye-opener for me. The sentence 'Beware the fearless man, for he was an idiot--death in a hat' made me think. I am glad you always awakened shaken but smiling.

Shay said...

Ah the fear of combat -- I still wake with them occasionally. The last line about the jungle is a fantastic fit.
Glad you only had those fears and not guns actually to your head.

indybev said...

A riveting haibun and haiku, Glen. Sadly, I'm sure the nightmare is shared with a lot of returning war vets. Glad you survive the nightmare!

lynn__ said...

Well-founded fears, I say...the thought of it makes me sweat. Glad you woke smiling...immortality will be ours, after all!

kaykuala said...

It is good to avoid living the nightmare by waking up. Done that!

Hank

Susan Mehr said...

One word, SCARY!

Victoria said...

Oh geez, Glenn. This is so intense. I can't imagine the horror of Vietnam but have seen and felt its effects in too many vets who were my patients and in my cousin who still struggles with PTSD. He was an Army Sargent and his platoon was pretty well wiped out.