a cork board


Soldiers of War
PMpMon, 28 May 2012 16:39:25 +000039Monday 1, 2010, 4:39 pm
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In honor of Memorial Day I thought I would post a poem I wrote a few years ago. It came about after a conversation I had with a good friend of mine and hearing his reaction to the movie ‘Stop Loss’ being about American soldiers. He said something along the line of “I”m tired of all these movies about American soliders and their sad lives. Why can’t we hear about some other country than America?” My reaction was pretty instant. I saw his point, but I couldn’t help but think how relevant stories always are, no matter what country. I told him he should write a Canadian war story. That if someone wanted to be heard and have their story told….then (by all means) write it. And we, the people, will read it and watch it and be inspired by it.

We ended up agreeing to disagree. In my usual style I backed down and said nothing more and went home and wrote this poem after I had a lot more time to let those words steep. And this came out. To be honest, I don’t think he has ever read this poem. But if you’re out there, and you happen to be reading this Mike. Thanks for the inspiration.

Let’s not forget the soldiers and veterans that fight for the most basic of rights for us, and their families that pay prices that cannot be quantified by any figure. Their bravery is boundless and their sacrifice/s are/is endless and ultimate.

soldiers of war

 

you say you’re tired of hearing stories

about American soldiers

stories that highlight the plight

of these Americans

and their suffering

the sad, little lives

of gun-toting Americans

who kill people everyday

 

you say it’s about time

you heard the story of

a real victim of war

someone who has really suffered loss

 

well, my friend

what is a real victim of war?

there are casualties that you or I

cannot see and can never understand

casualties that die inside of the living

while the living keep on living

 

but those are dead men walking

everything they ever thought is over

and you sit from your position of neutrality

with the power to condemn

you sit in your living room

and rub the names of

so many dead soldiers

into the ground because

you can’t see them

 

you only see a flag

you only see two countries

and truckloads of rhetoric between them

but take away the American flag

take away the politics

strip away the soldier’s uniform

and what do you have?

 

you have a person

a tightly wound thing that lives

and breathes and trembles in fear

a bundle of nerves hanging on razor blades

 

you have a husband and a father

you have a young boy

hoping to carve out the word meaning

into the tree of life

 

you have a stone cold killer

with ice in his eyes

who melts into his sheets every night

you have a man forsaken by his country

and left to fend for himself

because they protest the war

but they forget about him

trying to survive

 

you have a man

who is doing what he can

for his country

he may or may not believe

in the fight he is fighting

but brothers in arms are brothers in blood

a brotherhood I can never understand

one that you can never understand

 

so you sit there

with the right to question

on a throne of complacency

in a kingdom of doubt

and you belittle the emotional depth

of a solider and his family

because of the flag that he flies

 

why don’t you stop

making it about political agendas

and start connecting?

 

I expected so much more

from you than this

I expected you to at least pretend

to understand how it must feel

to open the door and see 2 men

standing on your welcome mat

telling you your life is over

and you never got to say goodbye

now you get to cradle a picture to sleep

 

that you might empathize with

sons and daughters losing their role models

what it takes to write a last letter

every time you suit up  to face the bullets

 

that, my friend

has nothing to do with political policies

or rhetoric or presidencies

or any label you can stamp on it

that has to do with human compassion

 

in war, nobody wins

every side loses something

they can never get back

every side loses people

in multiple realities

 

everyone victim has a voice

and that voice has nothing to do

with stars or stripes

or maple leafs

or crescent moons and stars

 

that voice has to do with the sun

it has to do with loss

and things that cannot be touched

but can be killed

it has to do with childhood and innocence

with last rites and second chances

 

not flags.

anything but flags