Sunday, August 08, 2021


That was a really long time ago, but it seems like it was only yesterday...

photo by yapo-zhou at Unsplash


just a tired wave to the guard at the gate,
no words, not one needed
those days of running in the sun, humping hills,
cold rain in dark jungles
half forgotten, gruff sergeants, muddy tracks,
sweat, curses and comrades'
faces and names i thought i really remembered,
goodbye godforsaken camp!

their bitching still clear, in hokkien, mangled
english, honest, unapologetic,
fuck the army, as the sergeant screamed of big
elephants in rifle barrels,
and now on this bus ride home to a change of clothes
from fatigues to polyester
the sounds and smells of the streets vaguely familiar
like home to an old place.


The title refers to the last day of conscription service, when you return to civilian life. On that day, some laugh, some cry, some spit, some are indifferent. I am not sure what's the acronym these days.

Posting this on the eve of our National Day.

Roger Waters - The Gunner's Dream

Shared at Writers' Pantry #82 at Poets and Storytellers United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Blogger phillip woodruff (jalopy dreams) said...

really enjoyed your poem dsnake, sounds like it was a brutal experience, very well written

08 August, 2021 22:25  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Phillip.

Not that bad really, except some moments during the service was, brutal. this poem is really a 'happy' poem, about the last day of service. :)

08 August, 2021 23:05  
Blogger Rommy said...

I can only imagine how huge of a life shift that was for you and others who went through the same thing. Military service is not so much as a profession but an entire lifestyle (LOL, a soldier is a soldier 24-7, but I am a marketing specialist only Monday through Friday from 9 to 5.)

08 August, 2021 23:09  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Rommy.

yes it was a huge life shift for us who went through it, but it is compulsory for all males reaching 18 to enlist, so yes most went through it without much problems. :)

08 August, 2021 23:25  
Blogger Gillena Cox said...

The sadnes, maybe the sadness every soldier harbours in his/her heart

Thanks for dropping by my blog today


09 August, 2021 00:01  
Blogger Helen said...

I relate to your beautifully composed poem!!!! And recall (vividly) the day my then husband returned from Vietnam.

09 August, 2021 00:45  
Blogger indybev said...

Still a vivid memory for those whose lives were so affected. Well penned.

09 August, 2021 03:14  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Interesting insights, for those of us who have never experienced such. It sounds a little bit like the last day of High School.

09 August, 2021 05:16  
Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...

That "almost familiar" at the end speaks to me. I remember coming home after more than a decade and feeling... strange, as if everything had been replaced by stuff that looked almost like it. Or, perhaps it was me... The military changes a soul (as you know), and a body too.

09 August, 2021 06:12  
Blogger Jim said...

That was good, DS. It remined me much of my Army days, first the basic training call, "Smoke it you got em and don't all gather too close, a bomb could kill the whole bunch." Like that would happen in Texas but it kept us from talking mischief. Second, was the letter we always had painted on the mountain east of El Paso and our camp, Fort Bliss. Rocks painted white in big letters, "FTA'. I guess that was our universal saying, "f**k the army", at least for us draftees.
But there was a bad depression and my plant had closed when I was to be discharged. So I re-enlisted for a 43 week electronics NIKE Maintenance school. As a college dropout the time it allowed me to have an electrical engineer job with my school and experience in lieu of as degree with Philco Tech Rep Corp, later to be Ford Aerospace when Ford bought us out. I then used my GI Bill and eleven years of night school and working I had three degrees.

09 August, 2021 12:02  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


yes, the sadness, and also probably the indifference.
Thank you! :)


Thank you! :)
A salute to all who served in Vietnam.


Thank you! :)

09 August, 2021 16:35  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


yes, that's quite a good comparison. :)


yes, it changes a person, somehow.
actually, i like the ending of the poem. i am coming home, but somehow the place doesn't seem familiar. :)


Thanks for relating your army days. we were told not to gather too close too.
The NIKE refers to the anti-aircraft missiles, i supposed? Not bad for your time in the military, earning 3 degrees. :)

09 August, 2021 19:48  
Blogger rallentanda said...

I think you are happy to not be in the army anymore. If you have to be in the be in the army band or the cookhouse and never volunteer for anything I am told. :)

10 August, 2021 02:06  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Rallentanda.
The cookhouse is the best . :D

10 August, 2021 13:31  
Blogger magiceye said...

Wars are such a waste of human lives.

10 August, 2021 21:32  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Indeed! And we still need to go and serve. :(

Thank you, magiceye!

10 August, 2021 23:02  
Blogger Rajani Rehana said...

Super poem

12 August, 2021 17:10  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Rajani! :)

12 August, 2021 18:51  

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