From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

[Click When Done Printing]

Download PDF of this full issue: v43n1.pdf (21.1 MB)

No Fear (poem)

By Paul Nichols

NO FEAR read the tag
on his civilian shirt
and the decal
on his pickup window
Ripe with youthful illusions
fed by hungry recruiters
fresh from high school restraints
"There's a war on
gotta get me some"

Months later
gullibility stings
in a forbidding arena
Young warrior gags
on fear

his role emerges
as a shear pin
when the drive wheel binds
a pawn in the shop of war
One errant move
a detonator fires
the charge explodes
jagged ingots
soft flesh
body armor's trust

Now a different shirt
tagged with blood
bone-white shards
where sleeves were full

Strapped to a gurney
jaw clamped tight
a morphine haze calls back
that high school psych class
the lightness of each topic
an intense understanding now
'fight or flight' means nothing
when neither is possible.

—Paul Nichols

[Click When Done Printing]