Rain and sweat soaked, boots muddy. Eighteen and hands already bloody.
Killing, bloodshed, death, murder and sorrow. Patrol, ambush, search and destroy engage and slaughter. Pursue the NVA across the Laosian border

Nothing good to look forward to. No joy, no peaceful tomorrows, just bloodstained memories, regret and sorrow. Heart like a rock with no regard for others. Home from the war. A stranger to siblings and to both father and mother

Self medicating hoping to quell
the psychological and emotional pain. Not the first nor last to become combat insane. Drowning in a bottle drunk twenty four seven. Drugs had become my earthly hell and heaven. Barbiturates, tranquilizers, opium, hashish to sleep

Ritalin and methamphetamine to resurrect me from the deep. Can't distinguish one day from the other. Saved from a life of daily addiction, affliction and dispair. The brothers cared and introduced me to Islam. Explained to me life's purpose

I began to learn, rehearse then proclaim the verses. Allah allowed me to get on the square and focus. War having made my mind a mess. The call to Islam directed me towards prayer and success. Allah's Deen has kept me upon the Siraatal mustaqeem

Abu Lateef Ali Babatunde
© 2023

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