rice paddies jungle, delta and highlands
desert twin rivers, palm grooves and marshes
punji sticks, booby traps, roadside bombs
bouncing betty bombs, grenade launchers
claymore mines, rocket propelled grenades
tunnel complexes, suicide bombers
satchel charges, martyr belts
Long Binh Stockade, Abu Ghraib
Tiger cages, stress positions, enhanced techniques
bringing smoke, Humvees , kits
Puff the Magic Dragon, lighting up the night
agent orange, only you can end forests
we had to destroy the village to save it
clear and hold, protective hamlets
counter-insurgency, search and destroy
recon by fire, check points, 18 foot blast walls
Phoenix program, death squads, special ops
the Cong, Charlie, bad guys, Haji ragheads
national liberation civil war sectarian strife
sectarian death squad ethnic cleansing genocide
genocide, genocide, genocide, genocide ….


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.