You and Me

A world taken by iron and eagles,
With boys as young as 12,
Could I have stomached the grit of sand and blood at Normandy?
Or enraged frost of Stalingrad?
Lullabied by the rumblings of the Panzer,
And bouncing like a kid on the legs of his grandfather,
It must’ve been hell,
But who am I to know?
We shared the same oath,
And scoured the same earth,
Finding manhood,
In no man’s land,
But I dug no foxholes,
No rancorous winters at Bastogne,
When nights grew distilled,
We both drunk from an initiation
Only a few ever tasted,
As the sun snuggles into a blanket of horizon,
Silence heals our reprisals,
And it’s only you and me.

Epic of Grunt: Exile

Private Grunt and The Unfortunate Events of War


Canto I: Prelude. 

In the desert where sand filled light was dim,

There slept a sounding grunt who’s life was grim,

The stars blazoning a whispering wind,

As roaring calls were heard from armored kin.

As rounds earthquaked the rich metal sleet ground,

A Sergeant rushed in to find Grunt confound,

“Private, Private what the hell are you doing!?”

“I’m sleep I’m sleep!” Said Grunt his face blueing.

Grunt rushed forth, with a steel viper in hand,

To slay the beasts who crashed his slumbered plans,

It’s bite was quick a truth known to scare all;

A flash of light that dashed hopes of the fall.

“To the Fifty!” Sergeant said with a charm,

As brass rained down with gusto and alarm,

“Roger!” said Grunt, young face covered in mud,

But his weight was too much and he crashed with a thud!

He crawled and crawled till the Humvee was in sight,

His heart was quickened of fury and fight,

The moon hissed full with a glorious kiss,

As Grunt thought of all the family he missed.

But no, there was no crying in battle!

He hoisted himself; the turret rattled,

Into the gunners hatch he went full geared,

The fog of war masked all that he feared.

He raised his hand to caress the cool bolt,

The gun sighed a relief, sprung with a jolt!

The dust was thick, there was nothing he could see,

Only the muzzles of his comrades flashed with glee.

Boom boom, boom boom the night filled with a theme:

Of truth, and lost; of chaos and of steam,

Grunt eyes filled with the soft grains from a land,

That bury the dreams of green fledging men.

The .50 jammed! this must be some black art,

But the hue of the barrel did much of it’s part,

Dust quickened to a blinding slick ordeal

A whirlwind of chance, but none of this was real…

It all was a dream a cruel one at that,

You see Grunt was captured by men who hated him back,

Tried and true the fate of war has its due,

And time has its rhyme of the choices we brew.

Canto I: Exile.

Grunt sat up, sweat trickling in earnest,

Discerning his gaze upon the clay bricked furnace,

A tattered mat cushioned his taunt and sinew,

Brief reprieve from the onslaught that continued.

2 months in ruin he laid bemused,

As fall peeked in and summer amused,

A tiny window was the only light,

To wait for his brothers for rescue at night.

“Ameriki! Ameriki!”, was shouted with tease,

There stood Ufair the handler grinning with ease,

A bearded man well fed with hair full and drab;

Twinkling eyes that seduced all that they grabbed.

Grunt’s once clean face now littered with dust, And

An once shaven head clattered with distrust,

His eyes drew upon Ufair most of his day,

An inconvenience that highlighted his fate.

To the annoyance of Grunt, Ufair laughed a lot,

A sneer that could be felt through out his cot,

At daybreak the same dance was performed:

The rhythm of rough hands signaling the morn.

“Oh how are we today Ameriki? ,

Have you slept well and a bit less bleakly?”

Ufair said with a cheer, eyes without a sneer,

A trait foreign from the hearts of his peers.

Grunt sighed, turned, and tossed to his side,

To meet the gaze of his foe, there he lied.

“What do you want?” Grunt said with annoyance,

He had grown tired of Ufair’s flamboyance.

“Why are you mad?” Ufair said with a pain,

“Because sand is up my ass”, Grunt complained,

“You are an odd man, Ameriki” Ufair retorted,

A deep hearty laugh came low and he snorted.

“Your breakfast will be cold if you don’t eat quick”,

“The last time you brought me food it made me sick”,

“Ah no Ameriki you must be mistaken,

I’m the best chef in this land” his voice unshaken.

“Don’t be so sad Ameriki” Ufair proclaimed,

“God gave us this day, let’s not put it to shame.”

“I don’t care about your God”, Grunt wiped his lips,

As he freed his mane from the taut like grip.

“Your God has forsaken me to this room,

Filled with sand fleas and stifling sour fumes,

Excuse me if I’m not in higher graces,

To respect the musings of foreign faces.

“This barren room will eventually be my tomb,

And my head will be a trophy in this bitter gloom,

So when you lay and pray to your God tonight,

Let him know that he has won this fight.”

Ufair sighed and sat in quiet contemplation,

To study the words of this young American’s frustration,

As Grunt nibbled on his beard like a famished bird,

Ufair released his breathe with these chosen words:

“Ameriki, I am not a man to know these great things,

I don’t no why man’s pride consumes them like kings,

Or why Allah has given you this fate today,

But find comfort and not let your soul decay.

This war was started before you were born,

It will continue long after we are gone,

I’ve seen that moon come and go,

And man has not changed I ought to know.

My village to has been taken by hand,

From these men with long beards and devious plans,

Their hearts are black and perverse with hate,

We all must confront the choices in our fate.

But I’m an old man and protest too much,

I have seen this war turn rivers to blood,

My own brother met his end as a man,

When he took up arms to protect this land.

You’re not the only one to feel this sting,

Of war and lost, and how fate swings,

Tomorrow is too far to predict its date,

Ameriki, please eat before it gets too late.”

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War Poems: Over There is a gut-punching journey into the soul of a solider with striking imagery relating war experiences in Iraq and the latter acclamation to civilian life. It is a collection of deep and honest thoughts on war and its aftermath without glamour or flag-waving. Regret, suicide, love, lost, naivete, destruction, are deeply woven within the candid poetry of Over There. If you have ever wanted to feel and discover what Veterans face both in the great of battle and in the silence of suffering, Over There will open your heart.

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War Poems

Volatile by Brenton Lee

Sometimes I dont know how I make it day to day. It seems as though I am in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance with only the briefest periods of respite. My few and infrequent sanctuaries of seeming normalcy only exascerbate the situation… I let them fool me just long enough to get comfortable, and then I am forced back into what I am starting to feel is my destiny. Dont get me wrong, the terrible things I have experienced didnt make me me. I always was. It isnt the storm that makes the ocean dangerous.

I stare at my reflection in the mirror everyday. The person I see makes my eyes burn, green webbed into a halo of golden brown, she said. The color of Thunderstorms and decay, she said. I dont recognize the face which stares back, warped and distorted in the shard of glass hanging from my wall. Somedays burning with an undying, unquenchable rage directed upon itself. Some days somber and solemn with dull, dead eyes. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of the person I once believed I was, buried under layers of unadressed issues and trauma, rising to the surface and desparetely grasping for air only to be pulled under again immediately.

We paint our insides black as the shadows ‘hind our flesh
And make all that we lack, the part of life that we forget

I am not sure if there is anything pure left inside of me. Am I nothing more than a jaded, bitter unapologetic asshole incapable of rising above my shortcomings? More often than not I find myself turning a blind eye to them or blatantly lying to myself, unconvincingly. Sometimes I feel the urge to destroy everything good in my life, its a sadistic self sabotage brought on by the fact that feeling good is so foreign. I react to love and happiness in my life like the immune system reacts to a foreign body or disease, relentlessly attack it until nothing remains. Tall, dark, desparetely unstable and charming, a recipe for tragedy.

Sometimes I feel like I’m close but I never get there,
Does it mean I’m a ghost if I’m still here?

In the end my self destructive tendencies win out. I have no outlet here, no escape and no sanctuary. My best friend was scattered over five square meters of Afghanistan and there was not a damn thing I could do to help him, no way for me to pay him back for keeping me sane over the last eight months. Nothing to do but succumb to the destructive demon inside of me and let him wreak havoc.
I dont want pity. I dont want understanding. I dont want advice. I dont want a second chance. I want everyone that I have ever wronged, everyone that I have ever hurt to confront me and let loose, bring me back to where I am most comfortable.

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