Tag Archives: war

The War Veteran

Johnny had his face in his iPhone.
He didn’t see the crippled old war veteran
lying like litter on the sidewalk
in a beaten parka begging for change.

“Get out of my way, you filthy bum!”
Johnny was disgusted. The city should do a better job
of keeping this scum out of his sight.

As Johnny went to kick the man’s legs
to teach him a lesson
the old man’s hand reached out
and seized Johnny by the ankle
for while this particular veteran had lost everything
along the way he had obtained a very special gift
and today it would be Johnny who was the one
receiving the lesson
of a lifetime.

Everything went dark and quiet but for only a moment.
Johnny opened his eyes but didn’t remember closing them.

He wasn’t downtown anymore.
Instead Johnny was in a rice field and his ankles were all wet
the air was stifling hot with no breeze
large insects buzzed all around him and he could
smell his own sweat along with cow shit
but he didn’t have time to feel disgusted again.

A large boom displaced the air all around him as
further up the way
the entire tree line disappeared beneath
a wall of mushrooming fire
as jets roared past overhead.

Johnny’s eyes widened as the heat hit him and as
dozens of men came running out towards him screaming
all completely covered in crawling flames.

Johnny could smell their skin burning
when the barrage of endless bullets began
whipping right past his head and
cutting down the men Johnny realized
where all around him
scared just like him –men that
he went to basic training with
that he played cards with
men that were like his brothers.

The way that his best friend’s body
twitched as it was riddled with bullets
made him look like a dancing puppet
and it might have been funny as Hell
if it didn’t break Johnny’s heart.

Bombs exploded dirt high into the sky
that came raining back down all around him.
Then another hit…and another
closer and closer each time.

Johnny turned his head to look behind him.
A boy, must have been only seventeen
a new recruit that Johnny knew well
was seated on the ground trying to hold his guts in
screaming for his momma.

Men in straw hats came running out of the forest
fire spouted in rapid succession from the barrels of their guns.
They were all around him coming in fast.
Johnny was paralyzed with fear
his bladder let go inside of his pants when
the sergeant –a large shirtless man wearing a cowboy hat
calmly smoking a cigar
came up to Johnny and slapped him:

“Don’t you dare wet yourself on my field, soldier. You worthless piece of wet chicken shit I’ll hand you over to Charlie myself and you’ll get ass-banged all the way to Goddamn China if you don’t get a grip on your gun and DO WHAT YOU”RE TRAINED TO DO!! We’ve got to take this damned village or we’ll all be sucking bamboo dicks for the next ten years so get your Sally-ass shit together and make yourself GOD-DAMN USEFUL! GET TO KILL’N SOME COMMUNISTS! YOU WANT TO MAKE IT HOME SOME DAY THEN START MOVING! THE ONLY WAY OUT IS FORWARD AND THROUGH THESE SHITBAGS!”

The sergeant was the scariest person Johnny had ever seen
he was obviously completely insane
and made Johnny want to run into the fire just to escape his presence.
Instead the sergeant pushed Johnny forward and at that moment
Johnny somehow knew that he had spent over a year
in this Hell and there was no respite from it
not day or night
it would just continue on and on.

Johnny’s Mom wasn’t going to be able to
bail him out of this there was no one
there was nothing but him and his gun and
he was going to die or go mad in this man-made Hell
where everything was burning and filthy and all covered in
grease and blood and where everyone wanted you dead
and the only thing worse than the insects was the heat
and the constant endless stream of enemies.

This was a reality that he had never had to feel
or know was real and Johnny just couldn’t handle it.
Johnny just wanted to go home and hide under his bed.

Johnny leaned over and vomited
then vomited some more
as the sounds of passing cars and people
laughing returned and Johnny opened his eyes
realizing that he was in the middle of the sidewalk
crying, having wet his pants and now
retching his insides out in front of a
group of Japanese tourists.

Johnny ducked into a nearby alley
and leaned back against the cold brick wall
shivering and still crying.

The last thig he remembered before all this was
the man…the old man…
The war veteran.

The old man climbed up into his wheelchair and
quietly rolled himself down towards the harbor.

He had found some bread to feed the gulls with.

It was getting late and the view of the water
at sunset always made him feel at peace.

It Gets Harder To See The Way

It’s hard to see the stars
from the gallows
or a smile through tears.

It’s hard to see rot beneath beauty
hope beneath shame
love beneath all that hate.

It’s hard to see change at the end of a gun
peace through the flames
or God through all that pain.

It’s hard not to bury
not to burn
not to break
because it’s hard to see the way.

And it gets harder to see

every day.

If You’re So Smart Then Why Can’t You Clean Up Your Mess?!

This world has shrunken to a room
filled with maniacs
and guns.

Everything
outside the window
looks like it’s either dead
or on fire.

Anything between is only deception.

Corpses rush through traffic
so preoccupied
with time
as the coyotes wait for darkness
sitting fat upon their faces.

The sun reveals
the presence of walls
unacquainted
with so-called mercy.

The sun rambles
it goes on and on
like the last drunk
at the party.

Nature wants not your genius
if you’re so smart
then why can’t
you clean up
your mess?!

I suppose that it doesn’t matter
the sea will claim us all
in the end
whether we understand it
or not
and I do believe
that it is time
for another drink.

Something sweet

Something dark perhaps.

With The Way That Things Have Been Going Lately

I saw a little white fluffy cloud
solely drifting across
the vast blue dome
of an otherwise perfectly clear day.

With the way that things have been going
lately
I hoped that it would get to where
it was heading
without getting bombed
all to shit
out of the sky.

I am Sorry That I asked

Today I woke up with a huge blemish
on my face
and when I stared at it
it seemed to stare right back.

Later,
at the buffet
for my father’s birthday
he leaned forward
looked at me
and asked
“What happened to your face?”

“Well, that’s not very nice.” I replied.
“I have a pimple. It happens.
What happened to yours?”

He grinned
weathered face
full of old scars
and said:
“In Vietnam, during the war
we would stay silent and still
out in the rice fields
with water up to our chins
slowly making our way across
to ambush the Viet Cong
as they stopped their
day-long march
for rice and rats
on the embankment.

With both hands
we had our rifles raised
above our heads
with all matter of insects
biting at our face as
leeches fed upon our necks
and you could not just
drop your rifle to get rid of them
as any sound would alert Charlie of
our presence and our whole platoon
would end up dead in the water
literally
because they had more men
more bullets
that was their country
and they weren’t about to
hand it over so easily
as you are well aware.”

“Oh!” I said
looked down
and continued eating
my egg-drop soup.

Bradley Manning

They shot down journalists
from the sky
by the dozen
bombed civilian structures
took away fathers in the night
on nothing more than a
suggestion
to be processed accordingly
but it doesn’t matter
because everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan
is a fucking terrorist,
right?

And this is war
our war
the war that you’re paying for
the one that you sit and watch
on your screens
so far away
that it might as well be on another planet

and they’ll explain it to you
using terms like ‘whistle-blower’
espionage
treason
aiding the enemy
and you’ll buy it all
because there is nothing else
on the shelf

as the one person
that stands up against everything
trying for change
where it matters
gets tortured and locked away
forever
while everybody else
does nothing but
sit back and watch
the analysts chirp.

This is how we treat heroes
these days
in a world ruled by the state.

World-Wide Unrest

This is the time of night
when the cold wind rustles the dead leaves
when all the flowers wither up into little balls
of dried nothingness
where the radio plays the same song
over and over again
as factories close
and politicians get reelected
the wheel turns and turns
deeper into the mud
the children are made slaves
in order to have a future
and families become separated
over merchandise
while our armies eradicate God
in new lands
and the beasts of burden
perpetually shit on a society
that cannot collectively cry
that instead bleeds random sociopaths
as it rains pestilence
from the products we create
within the systems that fail
under the weight of corruption
and there is word-wide unrest
as thousands protest
against the walls of bureaucracy
while the thugs behind the wheel
laugh all the way to the bank
and all of our principles, virtues and very ideals
are bought and sold
in the institutions they have built.

This is the time of night
that I crack open another beer
turn up the Bach

and am grateful for my cat.