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WELCOME HOME THE WALKING DEAD

by Ken Williams

Artwork by Alexa Gaffaney


The plane, dipped in rancid smog pulled up in the cold

the return flight from its journey of horror

like a primordial monster of old,

to discharge the men of the lost cause—

comrades, Lord Tennyson‘s Light Brigade.

 

These were the “foolish men” suckers some say,

all agree their lives stolen

The ramp slowly descends, bending before the gates of hell

arriving via indifference—

into a sea of inhumanity.

 

They tumble out: parched throats emitting a dreadful hum,

where once an arm swing casually,

now an empty socket remains

Exposed veins, glistering red

white dangling muscle

smashed bones, gray

The blank hollow eyes stilled too young

seeing no Peace with Honor

cane walks now

Eyes no longer seeing lies

Which change with every clash anyway.

 

A broken neck with an angular bent,

Crazy talk of a mind gone mad.

Mud hands holding in pink white intestines

tumbling out with blackened spleen.

Flesh fired charcoal black—another life force spent.

Smashed skulls leaking shattered minds

slipping into internal quiet of a forever scream.

No cameras allowed, no welcome home

THE WALKING DEAD came home alone.

 

Horror and rage rampage within the living

Of THE WALKING DEAD

those too stupid

too lucky who missed this plane.

Yet welded together—forever THE WALKING DEAD.

Welcome Home for what it’s worth.

 

The Walking Dead, officially known as the First Battalion, Ninth Regiment of the Third Marine Division saw some of the heaviest combat of the Vietnam War.  A time before the unit’s nickname was misappropriated by Hollywood.  Ken Williams served with the Walking Dead in 1969.


Published inPoetryNon FictionChapel Hill