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MEN WITH HARDENED HEARTS ONCE
EXPERTS WITH RIFLES, THE THUMPER M-79,
MACHINE GUNS AND HAND GRENADES. DECORATED
WARRIORS WHO RECEIVED NO WELCOME HOME
PARADES.
JUNGLE HARDENED WARRIORS BACK IN THE U.S. OF A.
ONCE A JOLLY GREEN GIANT, PART OF THE
GREEN MACHINE; NOW, A MIDDLE-AGED MAN WHO
HAD BY THE TENDER AGE OF NINETEEN FULFILLED
ALL OF HIS DREAMS, ALL OF HIS DESIRES, JUST NOT
TO HAVE BEEN KILLED BY FRIENDLY FIRE.
STRANGERS IN THE LAND OF THEIR BIRTH; ALIENATED,
ISOLATED AND LACKING SELF-WORTH.
OFTEN FINDING THEMSELVES INCAPABLE OF
COMMUNICATING WITH THEIR FORMER CHILDHOOD
CHUMS, MANY OF WHO VIEW THEM NOT
AS HEROES....JUST ECCENTRIC BUMS. SOME OF
THEM HAVE ATTEMPTED TO QUELL THE INNER TURMOIL
BY SELF MEDICATING WITH HEROIN OR RUM,
SOME OF THEM HAVE ENDED THEIR LIVES
PREMATURELY WITH THE GUN.
OTHERS SELF MEDICATE WITH PRESCRIPTION
DRUGS OR CHEAP WINE. SOME 350,000 ARE HOMELESS,
LIVING ON THE STREET, WITH NOTHING TO EAT, SO
THEY DINE ON LEFTOVER SCRAPS THAT THEY FIND IN THE GARBAGE HEAP.
MANY UNJUSTLY LABEL THEM ECCENTRIC,
CRAZY OR WEIRD, BECAUSE THEY WEAR REMNANTS
OF THEIR UNIFORMS AND MAY HAVE GROWN A BEARD.
THEY ARE NEVER SEEN AS HEROES, BECAUSE THEY AREN'T
ZEROES... AGAINST ALL ODDS, THEY CONTINUE TO EXIST,
THE LIVING DEAD ... WITH FLASHBACKS, INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS
AND RECURRING DREAMS LIKE A MOVIE RERUN BEING SHOWN
OVER AND OVER IN THEIR HEADS.
DREAMING THE SAME DREAMS, MANY TIMES AWAKENED BY SCREAMS,
SOMETIMES THEIR OWN OR OF A LONG AGO FALLEN FRIEND, WHOM
THEY WITNESS DIE, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
MINDS LOST AND LOCKED IN YESTER-SORROW, NOT HAVING MUCH
HOPE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW, WONDERING IF THE
SADNESS AND HURT THEY HOLD
INSIDE, WILL FOREVER ABIDE?


BY,
ABU LATEEF

©1993



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