Sunday, May 25, 2014


 By Gustav Hasford

Sleep, America.
Silence is a warm bed.
Sleep your nightmares of small
     cries cut open now
     in the secret places of
Black Land, Bamboo City.

Sleep tight, America
     dogtags eating sweatgrimaced
Five O'clock news: My son the Meat.

Laughing scars, huh?
     Novocained fist.
Squeeze every window empty
     then hum.

Fear only the natural unreality
     and kiss nostalgia goodbye.
Bayonet teddy bear and snore.
Bad dreams are something you ate.
     So sleep, you mother.

From Winning Hearts and Minds, a collection of poetry by Vietnam vets, published in 1972.

"I joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War while I was still in Vietnam. About February, '68. Also, I had a poem in Winning Hearts and Minds, published by the First Casualty Press, which was the first anthology of writing about the war by the veterans themselves."
--Gus Hasford, LA Times Magazine, June 28, 1987

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