Three War Poems

Three War Poems …

Three War Poems
Three War Poems

Three War Poems

Poem One

The Syndrome


I will never forget the day

Contracted this illness, this syndrome

from the Gulf War, even though

all other details of life have slipped away,

they told me there was a shell,

an undetonated shell located

near my platoon’s path,

poisoning us with some hidden

syndrome remnants, a removal

of my ability to remember, fall

into rages for no reason, lost my wife,

my kids, because of that empty shell.


What is funny is I know what did it,

let me tell you over this homemade

apple wine I made behind our clinic,

these billets can hold the truth, these

photos I keep near my toothbrush,

everywhere I was stationed after the war,

with this letter explaining my syndrome.


I know it was the day our tanks

fought face to face with theirs, our enemy.

I kept hollering as loud as screams

of exploding ammunition, at one point

I remember putting my hands to my ears

over my earplugs to keep out the screams,

it only lasted seconds, I did not leave my post.

I did close my eyes though, in that second,

tight, I thought I saw smoke through my



When I opened my eyes, noise was over,

I heard on radio that we were all clear.

We had won, a golden Bush Senior victory

to add to our list of victories, what a grand war.


I took a camera out of my pocket as I left the tank,

have you ever seen bodies melted

into the ruins of mangled metal?

Charred arms reaching out to God,

where ever God may be, still

part of smoking metal, no longer

human at all, no names, only smells

mixed with black aromatic smoke,

pungent, burnt flesh and burnt metal,

the smell of lingering fear

of a soldier who tried to exit to find

his torso thrown to ground a few feet away,

maybe his last vision was his own spine.

These are the pictures, they are all I have,

my memory has been shot.

Poem Two

The Panama Incident


I used to hang out in friend’s patrol car,

we would pull over a few speeders,


mostly we just sat with smokes and looks

out over swampland on either side.


He was Military Police,

four years and didn’t mind taking


care of traffic every once and awhile.


The thing is, neither of us stayed sober

for more than an hour or two, for many years,


here we sat in patrol cars to watch our

cigarettes ash.


He had his reasons and I had mine

if there really is a reason for each drink.


I knew his, or at least the day

we started drinking together.



He had been sent to Panama, a few years


part of Military Police action around

the globe.


To control trouble spots with little

media attention,

to use a smaller force to save tax dollars.


After a long wait in a full gym,

his orders held firmly in his hands,


he was trucked to airfield and lifted up

to Panama, where nights were hot,


to stay in bunkers and play cards,

mostly spades.


To perform guard duty on the wall

at least that is what they called it.


A small five-foot concrete divider,

to divide us from them with a white line,


a line no one should cross.


In evening he stood with his weapon

behind the Constantina wire on top of the wall


surrounded by syrup heat and heavy

eyes kept the weapon pointed out


into darkness, into sounds of greenery,

living things that croaked in the night.



When through these sounds he caught

the sigh of human movement, a sigh


of quiet footfall, a misplaced cadence,

he moved his light out to the echo


where stood an older woman who wore

a multicolored scarf wrapped around her head.


He noticed a flaming red gown on her shoulders

like a ghost of Frida haunting Panama.


She stood with both hands on her scarf

as if to hold the scarf on through the stillness.


“You do not belong here, please return

to where you came from if you cross the white line


you will be shot.” He stated in Spanish,

then English, then Spanish again.


For what seemed an eternity she stood,


Her hands on her scarf, then she

put her hands down and placed them forward


in front of her body, in front of her heart

like an offering, she then walked forward.


“Please do not cross the white line!”  He yelled

in Spanish, then English, in Spanish again.


But she kept moving towards the white line,

the wall, the Constantina wire.


“I will have to shoot!”  He yelled again

in Spanish, in English, then Spanish.


When she crossed the white line

he felt his finger pull the trigger.


He felt his training take hold,

he felt his training hit the mark.


He felt a forced emptying of his soul

as he cried out and rested his chin


on the butt of his weapon and stayed

in darkness and deep


empty heat in his silent weeping.


He was debriefed and sent home to Fort Polk LA,

where we met and drank our days of different drinks,


orders or no orders,

the spiritual link between all living things


can never be fixed when broken.

Poem Three

The Ride to The Wall

(Dedicated to My Father)


He remembered hum, Orange,

inside of bomber


loud drop halfway to R&R

in Thailand, never set foot


on Vietnamese soil, but dumped

that shit on forest, Orange


on every trip, this hum

was the same hum his first Triumph


made, first time he rode.

Nowadays they call him “iron ass”


three hundred ninety-two miles

of nothing but road, air, Orange,


so many years of it, he plain forgot,

then in Nineteen Ninety-Six


he rode with his group

of VFW patriots who fought


for their place to stand

next to WWI and WWII


veterans at the VFW alter,

they, he, was proud.


He left the group

after first campsite


drove everyday mile after Orange mile

camped with other travelers


headed to The Wall.

Soon one became many


tens became thousands,

line in an Orange row,


crowd made him seasick Orange.


He decided to head home,

too many people, he missed his wife


towards western hums

he traveled, still in motion,


on second day of Orange

he had a vision, he saw


the fine powder of drop,

he saw what he had done with Orange.


He seemed to forget everything,

his name, his wife, his sons, his life.


In a bright bright Orange haze

that lifted shortly before his home,


filled with terror he never felt before,

left road and returned to his family.


The minute he set foot within his home

he couldn’t relax a muscle


he couldn’t tie a thought into a bow.



He grabbed his son by his arms,



focused every bit of Orange eye contact.

Agent Orange.


“Don’t trust them…

Don’t trust the Orange bastards…


Don’t ever trust…



These poems are located in my poetry collection “Six Years of Service.”  If you enjoyed reading please stop by and read about this collection here at TCE:

For more works like Three War Poems and others by this author visit Jamie Lee Hamann Author Page

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Jamie Lee Hamann
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Jamie Lee Hamann

Things have changed over the years. My name is Jamie Lee Hamann and I have a passion for writing short fiction and poetry. I started writing for TCE around 2015 and since then I have finished two collections of poetry "Six Years of Service" and "The Rhyme of the Ancient Middle Class" both available on Amazon and plans for more. I share a weekly poem for TCE every Saturday. I started work on my first novel and I am using TCE to share my progress as I go. I share new excerpts of this work every weekend. A Science Fiction novel that I hope is enjoyable to read. I currently live in Lemmon Valley NV with my family. I am excited to share my poetry and my writing. If you desire to find my other work on the internet feel free to stop by my website The website offers articles on poetry, poems, and links to all my other writing.

5 thoughts on “Three War Poems

  • January 17, 2020 at 11:14 PM

    Jamie, these poems are intense. The thoughts and memories expressed give a hard-hitting impact to the horrors of war. The lasting effects of what took place are heart-rending and deeply emotive. It must have been hard to write these poems yet I hope you realize that writing and sharing it all is part of healing. You are in my prayers, dear friend.

  • January 18, 2020 at 6:02 AM

    Wow! is all I can really say, Jamie. These three poems together are a masterpiece and a must-read. What amazing and real depictions of war.

  • January 19, 2020 at 8:33 AM

    Thank you Phyllis and John. “Six Years fo Service” has some of my favorite poems. My first collection. Jamie

  • January 23, 2020 at 5:29 PM

    Wow, just wow. I agree with John these are a must read. You can feel the angst the emotion, every drop in each line. Excellent work.


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