The Veteran

His nickname was “Spanky.”
A Vietnam vet who slept
under the rattling rails
of the brown line on Western.
With gashes grossly gathered upon lips
from bar room fist fights
he would wander through nights
floating with alcohol wings
probing the street with passive stare.
Dust in every pore.
Dirt under every nail.
Drink on every breath.
The sweat stench of summer
wrapping it’s odor over the alleyways.
The war bitter soldier stands
trapped in his splintered mind
howling hourly,
growling at the

Matthew J. Lawler is a poet and Chicago native. He has been published in numerous literary journals, including, The Miscreant, Sick Lit Magazine, Caravel, Visual Verse, Unlost, Tuck Magazine, People's Tribune, forthcoming in an anthology( The Best Emerging Poets of Illinois) by Z Publishing. He lives to write and writes to live. You can find him on Facebook at Read other articles by Matthew J..