John-Ward Leighton

OLD MEN’S CLOTHES

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: February 6, 2006
Awarded: February 6, 2006
Stuck in the mud in memory lane:
all those mistakes
and only myself to blame.
Wondering what has happened to friends
in the fog of time.
Are they still with us
are they still the same
or have they passed?
Would they still be young in memory
if nobody asked?
Is this the adventure of the when and where
only to find there is nobody there?
Were we ever that foolish and young
that raw and green
as loudly our songs were sung?
The sweaty clump-clump
of marching feet,
sweat and hangover farts
and a quick puke in the ditch
last night’s beer and pizza
violently hurled
as the others laughed.
The comment that if you felt
something brown and furry in your mouth,
to swallow it quickly:
it is your asshole going south.
The choking and laughing
and quickly forgetting your pain
wash your mouth out and
join the march again.
That manly bond of shared adversity,
the section, the platoon, the company:
Your comrades – members of your
regimental family.
There are no old men
at our reunion
not even close
just young men
in
old men’s clothes.