" Don't Mean Nuthin'"

Discussion in 'The VMBB Poets' started by berto64, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2001
    Owyhee County, Idaho

    “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    A phrase oft repeated in Vietnam, worn paper thin
    By soldiers used an awful lot
    When it’s gettin’ bricky hot...
    Under pressure with lives on the line
    Melancholy existence on a definite decline.

    “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’, they say”
    Turning stone-faced from fears to walk away
    As though something's stolen part of their soul
    Left no way sorrow's grief to console
    Led too far astray in hell's battles darkning gray
    Forever boyhood humanity to betray...
    Staggering memories stored way down deep on the pile
    Hidden from the light of day...for awhile!
    "But It Don’t Mean Nuthin’"

    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    He says, when things happen that mean plenty
    To tough combat grunt gentry
    As things in war too often do...
    Boiling over in Nam's killing zone damps and dew
    Not able to face it
    Not now...
    Too painful to think about it
    Not now...
    So forget about it...
    Bag it
    Take this shit and shove it
    Nuthin’ I do or say makes any difference anyway
    So put it on the back burner till another day
    Pretend it didn't happen
    Cause “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    Means he couldn’t handle it that day
    So he walked away
    Fraught with a lonely stare of dismay
    Repressed it...denied it
    Sick of it...belied it
    Pushed it down somewhere in the back of reality
    Crammed down a crack of the last vestige of sanity
    Lost in the context of where he was going
    In order to go on doing what he was doing
    Heartsick from unbearably painful sights
    Took that next step away from unthinkable afterthoughts.

    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    He says, when the world seems so unfair
    In a world of unimaginable danger a very soul will unbare
    Ordered to walk point again
    And it wasn’t even his turn
    A shock
    Load and lock
    Go forth, yours but this violence to pursue
    Go forth, as fears in the shadows ensue
    Ordered to hump into the heart of the gloom
    Dead weight on your shoulders of impending doom
    In an alien, unknown war virtually alone
    Without a love of his own.

    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    Cause nobody cares if you don’t want to
    Never quite ready are you
    For dedicated men constantly trying to kill you
    Preoccupied with your dying
    In wait for you lying...
    Here, there, along jungled treeline
    Prone behind that entangled vine
    Just off the trail in a ditch's rocky incline
    Go, dive deeply into this living nightmare impacted
    By some politician back home patriotically advocated
    Cause “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    A kid begging for candy has a grenade strapped to his back...
    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    When you kill your first man...
    “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”
    Forever haunted by the last look in his eye...
    “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”
    Receiving a “Dear John” from your girl, diamond ring inside...
    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    Tormented by water, leaches, footrot up to my thigh
    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    You didn’t want to live forever, did you?
    Cause "It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    No one back home can ever understand
    Not even begin to comprehend
    Feeling hot, sticky blood On your hand
    Blood of your enemy
    Paying dear for his tyranny
    Or is it your own blood...maybe your buddy?
    “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    You cry out in a primal scream of despair...
    Welling inside voice a swear
    “Where, dammit, where
    In this fetid land is hope?"
    Principled men, good men, find it so hard to cope...
    But when in still silence comes momentary lull in the fray
    Nestles a tear in the tough guy’s eye that day...
    “But It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    It Don’t Mean Nuthin’
    When your best buddy...
    On the narrow banks of rice paddy muddy
    Your brother in arms
    Steps on a land-mine in this world of harms
    And as they do every blasted time in this festering hole
    That mine blew a hole in his soul...
    He lost his leg...
    Hear him screaming for his mother beg...
    Bloody and torn...
    Lost and forlorn...
    Hear him as like a baby he cries
    Hear his last gurgling cry before he dies
    Hold him as he lost his life...
    Who’ll tell his wife
    “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    Calmly wash the blood off your hands
    Now lonelier in these alien lands
    Yours but to bite the bullet...and go on
    Now your brother’s bloodied and gone
    To a far-off soldier’s hell for Nam's sins to atone
    Leaving you to pick up the pieces...
    Fighting hard to keep from going to pieces...
    “An It Don’t Mean Nuthin’ you say”
    As you slump to the ground to pray...
    End of subject...
    You say, with lowly feelings abject
    “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”
    Repeating a phrase growing increasingly thin.

    You feel the horrors eating at you so bad
    Yet, know you can’t afford feeling so sad
    You've still got to keep your head about you
    Raise beleaguered eyes to go on and do
    For when being alert “is” life or death important...
    You cannot relent.
    Put away thoughts welling from soul depths cruddy
    Wearing you down like a liquor besotted toddy
    Can't afford thinking of your buddy
    With the far away eyes
    There's no time for grieving those mindless sighs
    Just put him into that body bag filled with his agonies
    “Cause It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    There's no time to cure an unbelieving stare
    Malevolently looking to the forests to dare
    Carry him to the medevac dustoff...
    You'll go insane unless the memory you blowoff...
    With every fiber of your deep down being loving him
    Wishing there was something more you could do for him
    Feeling guilty...
    In the war’s greatest travesty...
    Trying not to cry
    why wasn’t it you had to die...
    “God...it Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    “Say it don’t Mean Nuthin’”
    And just turn and walk away
    When you just can’t handle it till some other day
    Some far off day...
    Only another vet can understand
    Only another vet can comprehend
    One who’s walked the rim of the last mile
    One who says he never again will smile
    Spending time still searching "the park"
    From dawn till dark
    Bravado belying the fateful tear
    Hiding deep down inside his fear
    Death's specter still hovering gruesome near
    Into the valley of the shadow I shall not fear
    Cause "It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”

    You didn’t want to be the one from the medevac
    To turn your back
    Face the creeping forest motley black...
    Just turn and walk away
    Back into the heat of deadly fray
    Back where people try to kill you
    You don’t plan to live forever, do you?
    You know it’s now your turn to bleed
    Plant in Vietnam your precious seed...
    “But It Don’t Mean Nuthin’.”

    Now when you hear vets say, “It Don’t Mean Nuthin’”
    Just know...it means everything!
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2005
  2. SouthernMoss

    SouthernMoss *Admin Tech Staff*

    Jan 1, 2003
    SW MS
    That's a compelling poem.
  3. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2001
    Owyhee County, Idaho
    It brought me up short when I read it, SoMo.

    I included the url it came from so you may want to check other items on that site.

    It is pretty sobering, yet interesting.
  4. Deputy Dawg

    Deputy Dawg Active Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Central Texas Gulf Coast
    I had an Uncle who was in the Army, that spent two tours of duyy in Vietnam, he was actually were the fighting was.He came home in 69, and lived on a farm with my grandparents.For a long time he would have flash backs and get up in the middle of the night looking for chinks outside. AS the years went on he more or less became a hermit living very humblely. He and I were very close, he died of a heart attack when he was only 55. I think it was more from a broken heart from the way a lot of the American people treated our American Heros returing home by calling them baby killers.He was never the same person when he came back. BERTO64 I salute you and all of our Vets.for the sacrafice that you all have made for our country.THANKYOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.
  5. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2001
    Owyhee County, Idaho
    Thank You, DD.

    I posted this poem to maybe give folks a clue of how that place and the situations we had to endure have affected so many Vietnam returnees.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2005