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.