White Coats

Ken Williams
Cambria, CA (Spring 2017)

 

Waiting
White coats hustle by
nurses of compassion
their gentle, sideway smiles frozen
combating war’s legacy

Blood counts fall
Platelets
White cells
Red cells
M.I.A.
Agent Orange rages

Gulf War Syndrome
Agent Orange, Blue
other colors, deadly rainbow
Burn off trash heaps
pick our poison

Plastic tubes stained red
sucked into
veins corrupted with Dow’s tainted blood
My blood
not abstract
Robbing denial
it’s soothing salve

War
part of something bigger then
Now
as disabled vets
standing alone
Except for
soul mates
families
who signed on
for none of this

Golden sunset
turned scorching red
deadly black
fiery napalm, Satan’s foul breath
torching wedding vows

To die in war,
or years later
delayed payment plan
A lonely proposition

A wife left alone
children orphaned
idealism critical in I.C.U.s
across the land
Abandoned vets
Code Blue
We asked
for none of this

War’s parting gifts
alone we suffer and die
because you wish
it that way

 


 

KEN WILLIAMS worked as a social worker for the homeless in Santa Barbara. He won numerous awards for his dedication. His writings have appeared in Columbia Journal, Cecile’s Magazine, the Huffington Post, The Potomac A journal of Poetry and Politics, The Criterion, Mobius, Better Than Starbucks, The Fear of Monkeys, VietNow, Scars Productions, The Creative Truth, noozhawk, Down In The Dirt Magazine, Slab Lit., The Good Men Project, S/tick Magazine, Mag. U. Penn, Santa Barbara Independent, and others both domestic and abroad. He is a disabled combat Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. His most recent novel: Fractured Angel.