Night on Guadalcanal

Reads: 232  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the first war poem I tried to write, and I really like how it turned out. It is the first of a series of 3 WWII poems that I wrote for a fairly large, online war poetry contest. I wrote it after watching the new series The Pacific, about the war in the Pacific Theater. Still in revision.

Submitted: April 22, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 22, 2011

A A A

A A A


Night on Guadalcanal
Larissa Sprecher
you’re on a god-forsaken dot on the map
deserted by everything but rain and heat
and tracer drenched gun battles
on nights like this
we gotta move snaps the sergeant
and you stop feeding the clinking gold
snakes into the Browning machine gun
where’s my glove?
the gunner hisses, slaps around in the dark
you think about the strangest things sometimes
the way George your cat spread out
on a pile of clothes like a purring
calico towel waiting to be folded
I said move! the sergeant says
 forget the fucking glove
the gunner grits his teeth
hooks his arm under the still smoking barrel,
explosions drowned in a sear
a sizzle like raw steak hitting a hot skillet
Jesus Christ
hang the brass belt around your neck
run, ignore the weight
ignore his pain, ignore all pain
the only way to survive
stumble as wet branches clutch at you
floundering in the rain
frightened of the bombs
just yesterday you were sitting in a silent oven
of grass spears watching drops of sweat
trundle down your arm, etching weak trails
in the rust colored grime, wishing for a breeze
a bird, a banana leaf to keep the sun off
a color not saturated green and brown
 you lose a boot in mud over your knees
keep running, it never fit you
drop into another foxhole
feed another 30. caliber chain
into the clattering greedy monster
watch bodies pile up like sandbags
on a strand of barbed wire fence
screams sear your ears
until your head rings and begs for mercy
cordite blisters your eyes, lungs
all you can see is smoke
tracers, shadows of men
pitching into the ground, blown
into unrecognizable chunks
screaming, the hiss and thud of bullets
the way the dirt in your mother’s garden
smelled rich and dark after the rain
when the raindrops were pearls
on the corn silk, emeralds on the leaves
here blood streaks dark and thick across jungle ferns
no chance for disguise
and the ground is too drunk
on water and blood
to worry about smelling of iron
of death
rotting leaves suck at your feet
the steel still smokes with no
sympathy for the human arm
it just burned beyond repair
the shaking finger clamped to the trigger
the mud-splattered body hunched over it
in clammy green canvas and smothering rage
blinded by pain and firing
at anything that moves in the darkness
lashed with rain and torn by flames
the night becomes a grenade
just last week when the army finally showed
a soldier from your platoon scored a raid
saltine crackers, cans of cherries, moccasins
and a box of cigars some general would miss
he gouged open a can of peaches
tossed his head back and swallowed, laughing
as the golden juice ran down his chin
something warm spurts on your cheek
the gunner chokes and falls back
take the goddamn gun!
you grip the trigger, scalding and so sticky
you wonder if you can ever let go
shudder with throb of the gun
until all you are and all you ever were
is the pulse of fire from a scorching barrel  
there were summer days when all you heard
was wind tickling the grass, your horse chewing
steady as a heart beat, the creak and smell
of leather, hay drying in the sun
there were days when the world was sane


© Copyright 2019 livingonaprayer. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More War and Military Poems