Nightmares

I remember what you said to me,
Covered in the grains of my juvenile determination,
“Come back in one piece” said with a deceiving
grin; crisp words you knew would never be.
I carried them like a wanting child,
Full of helplessness and curiosity,
Smoothing the turbulent rumblings,
That jolted me from inklings of the dark cloud,
That hangs and waters the reservoir of ruins.
Those words carried me along asphalt baked with defeated dreams;
Roadsides: the waiting point for the chariot that delivers us from buffering.

The Click

The sharp touch of metal,
Caresses my fist,
As the light,
Devours a lonely glimpse,
Of what life has become,
For the boy,
Who left the shielding arms,
Of Apple pie and Monday night football,
To save a world from evil,
Without a uniform or flag.
As the faucet drips,
The tune of the forgotten,
Is lulled to sleep,
By the lullaby of the safety.
Click, click, click,
Is the rhythm of thought,
That dances between,
The present,
And forever.

The Question of Enemies

What I came to love as fantasy
Has become my worse enemy.
And the beautiful prose,
Of “O say can you see”
Has become my secret enemy.
And streets laden with casings,
And unfamiliar faces,
Keeps me in paces.
And dust covered notecards,
With scribbled verses,
Breathes solacing praises.
For love of country,
And love of life,
Struggles between a paradoxical blend,
Of loyalty and resistance,
Of honor and resentment,
Of vengeance and contentment.
And who are my enemies
That are faceless?
In a desert?
A sea?
A jungle unbeknownst to me?
Or will it be when mendacious leaders,
Make that choice for me?
Now streets are filled,
With armor from battlefields.
And war has come to us,
In form of protection.
Will the day come,
When they bind us for our objection?

Another Man

I can spill blood for my country,
But I can’t love another man.
We can grasp the trigger of a weapon,
But we can’t hold hands.
My lips can taste the dirt of a foreign land,
And give my soul for the ones that can’t,
But we warriors who walk another path,
Can’t touch the freedom,
That blankets this land.

A bullet cares not for who I love,
Just that I’m in its path.
Nor does the explosion cares,
Who receives its wrath.
Nor does the dust cares,
Who it swallows whole,
Only that nature return those for which it holds.
Am I a lesser man,
Because I love a man?
And if hell awaits me,
Why should I fear?
For hell is walked before death,
Through rages and cages,
Through stages and misinterpreted pages.
And is my sacrifice tainted?
Because the love I choose will never be sainted?

Our Greatest Enemy

Our Greatest Enemy,
Doesn’t lurk in the mountains of Afghanistan,
Or the alleyways of Iraq.
Doesn’t call for the heads of the innocent,
Or buried beneath rubble from a drone attack.
Jihad is not their battle cry.

They are the ones who send their young to wars,
With no hope of a return.
Pervert patriotism as a means to serve.
Turns virtue into vice as a catalyst to destroy.
Use love as a manipulation to deploy,
The greatest treasure a nation can employ.

Am I a good soldier because I believe these thoughts?
That fantasies about enemies to fuel our lust,
Was forsaken as the gust of a bullet,
Rendered our knees in mud?
That the ink of my brothers,
Are etched into my soul,
That no amount of celebration can restore.
Is love of country,
Blindness of truth?
And is naiveté of good,
The burden of youth?

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Letters of A Disillusioned Soldier: Entry 1

I prayed for the first time today. After what happened to Thompson, I decided it was time to pay the man upstairs a visit. Man it was fucked what happened to Thompson. I was in the LT truck and we were going down this narrow road, almost an alleyway with houses on both sides. As a gunner I was scanning the roof tops and the windows making sure those fuckers didn’t start hitting us. Then all I heard was a pop, and “were hit, were hit!” coming over platoon coms. LT got out to see what happened and I started to pull security. I heard LT call in Thompson KIA back to company. Thompson was the first KIA in our platoon. SPC Kennedy in the lead vehicle and a kid about 15 peeked out from the alleyway and threw the RKG-3, it’s an anti-tank grenade. It went up into the gunner hatch and down into the humvee and hit Thompson who was sitting in the back behind PVT Malloy, the driver. I’m scared as fuck man, I don’t want that to be me. But what can you really do?

I don’t even know why we are here anyway. They keep telling us this bullshit about winning hearts and minds, but I really don’t see all that. I’m tired of this sand up my asscrack everyday. I’m tired of my balls being chaffed. I tried to use that shit they sell at the PX, I forget what it’s called something glide or whatever. That shit doesn’t work. So I go commando now. Keeps it dry, but my balls start to stick to my legs. Shits fucked up. And it’s getting too hot over here now. You should see all the salt that collects on my back after patrolling. I’ll take a picture and send it to you next time. We have to drink a lot of Gatorade here. We have a cooler here in the LT truck and we fill up everytime we roll out. I drink a lot of it. Our Humvee breaks down because with the weight of the armor and the A/C going at that same time, the truck can’t handle it. So we have to turn off the A/C and roast like pigs. It’s pretty boring over here if we’re not patrolling. I usually just watch TVs shows and go the gym. I’m trying to gain some weight. But the food is good here in the chow hall. Pretty much all you can eat. I dunno, I’m just talking bullshit now. We got some early mission tomorrow and I should probably rack out. I keep getting chewed out by Sergeant Daniels, my squad leader because I’m late to the truck. I need to stop staying up late and watching these damn shows. Alright man I’ll catch you later.

-SH