Monday, May 26, 2014

Headline Poem 5/26/14 -- One Man's War

Today is Memorial Day. Thank you for all of those who have served, are currently serving, and will serve in the future. #weremember #memorialday

One Man's War

He'd sit me down 
every Memorial Day. 
To remind me 
that it was not 
A day for barbecues 
and no school. 
This shit is real, he'd say. 

He'd show me pictures 
of young men, 
Once boys with long hair,
now bears,
Defending God-knows-what 
for God-knows-who. 
They were just like me and you, 
he'd say. 

The faces, tan and leathery,
and jagged, but smooth 
Came through. I could tell
They knew
they were aging
Far too soon. 
Wet from the rain and hot jungle
Their eyes were etched with 
Beauty and promise. 
Some smiled. 
They were good guys, he'd say. 

The people wanted freedom, 
but they spit on me 
when I came home. 
They cursed the very shoes 
I wore 
to carry the blood 
of my brothers. 
Freedom isn't free, he'd say. 

When he returned home
to New York in 1969, 
his mother knew
she'd have to walk a fine line
of fragile shells 
And patient wires
because he was 
angry that he had,
and they hadn't.  

Do not let the TV men glamorize this for you,
he'd say. 

Before falling asleep on those 
Long afternoons in May,
I thought of bears and boyhood
And bravery 
And youth,
And plastic Santas on top 
of a foreign roof, 
symbols for strangers 
Celebrating birth. 

Some came home to celebrate their own. 
For those who didn't,
Fallen, but not alone,
We remember 
and we mourn.