From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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Alone With Just Numbers (poem)

By David Connolly

for Skinny Dennis, The Pooh Bear

It was all about that, the numbers.
The Body Count. We were all just that:
the NVA, the VC, the little kids, old folks,
just body count, me and Pooh too.

The count for us Grunts in F Troop went from
seventy-eight to eleven able to walk,
in just one operation, but Pooh Bear, he had
my three, my six, my nine, twelve, through it all.

We got through another nine months alive,
the two of us, alone, together being the constant
as far too many others, thirty-nine more strangers,
became just numbers on a toe tag in a body bag.

Woke up beside him alive in The Seventh,
The Eleventh, The Twenty-Fourth,
The Ninety-Third Evacuation Hospitals
and Pooh was always there at my three or my six.

Came home with him to D Company, Advanced Infantry Training,
Fort Hood, teaching 11 Bravo Grunt newbies how not to die
using the M-16s, M-60s, M-79s, with the M-113 ACAVs
they would be on as just more numbers in the Nam.

Lost him in 1970; see, I had no working numbers for him.
Found him about 1980 and drove out to New York
to freak our five kids out crying on his porch
about The Numbers, the dead there was no dealing with.

Got called minutes before 2000, Pooh talking some shit,
about maybe, maybe it might be just us two.
Then nothing until early 2015, another call out of the blue,
an unspoken goodbye maybe, a quick, "Bro, I love you".

I looked up phone numbers, called around and found,
with Agent Orange cancers, suicides, just old fucking age,
yeah, Pooh, it may just be me and you that made it through.
Just today, found you on a page; dead, on 02/07/2015.

More numbers to deal with, to feel, to try to ignore.
Now it's just me and no ambush patrol could feel so alone.
Don't want those days back when we were boys trying to be men,
but I do miss our time together and I will see you again.

And Three Dog Night, they had it right about that Number One.

—David Connolly

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