Vietnam War Poetry That Bares The Human Soul. Author Mike Mullins states in his book, “It is what it is; a number of poems inviting people to experience what an average soldier felt during a time of war!” “It”, of course, refers to his book of poems about war. The ‘people’ the author refers to are those ‘people’ who have not experienced the wrath of war or felt the incredible affects that combat has on the human psyche … affects a soldier carries with him for the rest of his life … affects that many soldiers can’t cope with … affects that many soldiers can’t or won’t talk about … affects that scarred the minds of many soldiers similar to the physical scars caused by hot shrapnel, bullets, mortars, and rockets that the author talks about in his poem, Hey Medic.
Mike bares his soul in a unique way so others will experience the intangibles of war and thus be able to feel, live, smell, and taste what he did, what others did, what others can’t, don’t, and won’t talk about but are grateful to Mike for being their voice. Mike reveals many facets of war that most ‘people’ never read about or think about … inner consternations that are intense, intimate, and oft times incredibly private. Mike weaves his poetic stories on a literary loom with yarns that expose the inner sanctity, silence, and agonies of war that until now were harbored within his soul much the same as an artist’s brush paints intimate visions on an otherwise blank canvas. Mike’s words leave little doubt that war is a personal hell and that each soldier wages many separate wars within their souls.
Reviewed by: Lloyd A. King (2007)
I am Michael D. Mullins. I have written a book of poetry, telling my story when I was a grunt in Vietnam. I served there from March 1968 until March 1969. My unit was Delta Company, 3rd Battalion of the 7th Infantry in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. Our motto was “Light, swift and accurate.” It could have easily been “light, sweaty and persistent.” We were mobile and proved it every day.
The stories I tell are about friends, vets I have met in various situations and my own experiences in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia. I continue to seek stories that inspire, concern, and delight me. They make me thoughtful, proud, and committed to their telling.
I have more to write and will continue to listen to the veterans I encounter on life’s road. There are 8.2 million of us, so I am sure I will not get to everyone, but to those from whom I have already learned and those in my future I offer my gratitude, my respect, and my thanks.