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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 2, June 2018
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Keitha Keyes
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Vietnam 101

The 60s and 70s are a bit of a blur to me now. But tonight’s TV documentary is an uncomfortable reminder of those times.

Back then 20-year-old Australians were conscripted for National Service via a ballot. Wooden marbles representing birthdays were placed in a lottery barrel and then randomly withdrawn. Our young men could watch the process on TV and find out if they were bound for Vietnam.

conscripts—
sent off by the elders
their stolen youth
spent in killing fields
far from home

It was a war we did not understand. A war we could not win.

who
are those people
we fight—
how did they become
our enemy

Many died. Many wished they were dead.

this war . . .
the newspapers are full
of statistics—
my boyfriend comes home
without legs

There were no victory parades for those who survived.

some wounds
heal with time
the soul
of an outcast
bleeds forever

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