Hopeless Tempo

Hopeless Tempo

Eighteen, just started shaving, it stings.
Across the pond they told me, “paradise, won't be in the fighting.”
Terror tonight, I want my momma, even my tyrannical daddy.
Wishing doesn't make it true.

I watch mortars drop close.
I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to run. I want to go home.
I think of my girl, she is waiting for me.
Staying faithful only to me.

I am her soldier, her warrior.
I promised to make a life for us when I go home.
When, when, when?
The chant changes to if, if, if.

Mortars fall closer. This fox hole will be my grave.
My brothers lay dying. The blood mixed with the monsoon rain is mine.
My boots are squishy, my blood filling them and coming out of the top.
Holding my wound, wanting to help my brothers.
They moan and cry for help.

Useless. Useless. I feel useless.
Hopelessness beats a tempo with the pain.
Laughing and crying at the same time isn't hard.
My mind is fractured, weak and impotent.

Death is cold, uncommon.
Slowly it comes.
Letting go.

Kristi Ivey

Kristi Ivey is a former member of the Appalachia East Writers Association, and served as a guest judge for their Quill award for poetry. Kristi lives in East Tennessee the mountains inspire her. Her work appeared in Season's anthology.


  1. Not many Nam poems these days. Fine job on getting out the story and the message.

    1. Thank you I dedicate it to my Uncle Sampson. Sgt. Sampson Lowe. He loved us little kids so much. But he was fighting those enemy demons as they say for the rest of his life.

  2. i really love it, the way she expressed her pain and wish together, makes a beautiful sense.. Keep writing.

  3. Your bring my soul a water it thirsts for like a desert drowning in despair.
    I will tell my friends.

  4. Loved it. I'm sure it holds many truths.

  5. A truly excellent depiction of war's sorrow.

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