ryan quinn flanagan | the skydivers of vietnam

The Skydivers of Vietnam

The new officer was instructed by
the gunship pilot
to always count the number
of captured
during unloading
and never before uploading.
Asking what the difference was,
he was informed by a senior officer
that the numbers might not
add up.

And the numbers always had
to jive.

This was a war of numbers,
a war for freedom,
and the numbers had to add

Taking his lead from the others
the new officer
tied razor wire tight into the eyes
of the captured
as the gunship took off.
To make the slants more slanted,
a private offered.
Cutting deep through the skin
drawing much

Once over the tree line
the wagers began.

I bet I can toss my dink further
than you can toss yours…

Then the first was heaved out
over the side.

Then another.

And another.
There was a lot at stake.

The loser had to buy beer
for the whole platoon.


Back at base
the captured were unloaded
and counted for the

As the gun ships
of neighbouring platforms
(far as the eye
could see)
prepared for take

0 Replies to “ryan quinn flanagan | the skydivers of vietnam”

  1. An important anti war poem. Vietnam was the last war we should have ever fought. For the reason that it was the first war televised to the American public. We saw what was going on, not only the horror of war, but the pointlessness of the war in Vietnam.
    On a personal note, having lived with a woman from Saigon here in New Jersey, the pain of that country, even when told now as in this good poem, runs deep in me.

  2. Thanks Rich…yeah, to my money nothing exemplified the pointlessness of war more than Vietnam, though more modern ventures seem to be competing with the levels of horror and inhuman cruelty.

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