Victor H. Bausch

Victor Bausch served in Vietnam from 1967--February 7, 1968. He trained at Fort Riley, Kansas with the 9th Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade, 2nd 47th Mechanized, and was based at Camp Bearcat in Vietnam. He now works as a reference librarian at Monterey Public Library in Monterey, California. His Viet Nam poems and prose poems have appeared in many publications. Some of them are: PROPHETIC VOICES: AN ANTHOLOGY OF WAR AND PEACE, TOUR OF DUTY: VIETNAM IN THE WORDS OF THOSE WHO WERE THERE and THE VIETNAM GENERATION BIG BOOK.



He was there in 1967 to liberate
the oppressed of South Vietnam.
But when his convoy drove up Highway One
to Camp Bearcat
all he saw were American soldiers
standing or lying by the side of the road
as if the war zone he had been prepared for
was in another country.
Where's the war? he asked his friend
sitting next to him.
Stopping at a checkpoint
near a hamlet
his friend pointed to an old woman
staring intensely at them with hatred.
There, he said. In her eyes.



We've filled sandbags
all afternoon,
setting up a perimeter
in a clear and secure area.
A couple of hours later
during a hard monsoon rain
we're ordered to slit
the bloated bags
with bayonets and move camp
300 meters north
before night falls.
Wet, exhausted, pissed off
some of us slip into slumberland,
dream of family, friends, freeways.

The rest of us curse
the 5th VC Infantry Division
for not showing up to the party.
Asleep in a Vietnamese graveyard
Danny calls out for Lan,
his girlfriend, a dancer
at the Pagoda Club.
In the half light of the morning
a couple of us see a black scorpion
scamper across the wet red dirt
plant a peverted hicky on his neck,
a kiss so provacative
Danny moans for more.