Poems sent home to his wife by a young man who enlisted in the US Army after 9/11+in warthere is a call for strengthwith simple commands of reasonkill or be killed commandsfrom men who take afternoonnaps in air conditionedoffices while the shrapnelallows the blood on our legsto sweetly clot and coagulateso we may kill again tomorrow + eyes of peacehave left for the warleaving sandstorms to conquerawesome tasks of life + stormdrenched deserts swallowsoldiers barely twenty-onewhile presidents speak + I witnessedthe terrible warerasing the souls once brightin the eyes of friends + the deserthas no sweet jasminescents at night as the friendlyblood seeps through the war + I tryto think everydayof your sweet kindness and lovebut blood smells so thick + desolateyou won’t believe howthey live so far from waterand die so easy + massacrecourage provokes the weak soldiersto pull triggers before there are wordssupporting their lonely human hearts + she wore silk robeswhen we knocked down the doorthere was no fear in her eyesshe simply sat on a pile of ragspretending to hide the corpseof her husband from the hollowempty graves standing before her + prayergratitude for the tearsthat help me sleep at nightuntil my hands slap at my eyesin the darkness to kill the dreams +massthe deep graves hiddenin ditches along the roadgrow wild flowers + neighbors lower blindsas we march through the roadsavoiding each other’s eyesboots filled with dry mudanxiety resigned to highwaiting for the oddsongs of freedom to burst forthin my helmet heard only by meour mission together simpleto return to safe sleep in campwhich is already overgrownby the tears of frightened villagers + war eats through methey still fall screaming everydayvoices weeping in shadowed cornerslook at my faceforgive meit doesn’t matter whatI wish myself in the fire + another bagpiled like debrisoh I’ll say it plainpiled like garbagejust another bodyto be burnedreturned to dustI must keep workingdon’t let me sleep + another blitzbombs betray the dawncorpses will wake themselves upand sweep the ashes + stray dogon the battlefieldignoring the awful hatelooking for a meal + circumventiontruly the bombingis described as a hailstormpassing blame to God + watchingchildren spy on usbehind the many parked carswith eyes wide open + warfareromantic battlesdiscarded from memorynever spoken of + young men are dyingin dry summer fieldsas an unafraid womanprays loud over them + wounded groansin the field not hellrounding the world like deathmake the landscape speak + it is not a sinto wring out my heart todayit won’t live again + desertdoes not sing praiseafter I recite my songover its holy sand + the deadfound some peace at lastdriven from the pains of lifewith short bullet songs + funeralold boots stained with bloodstand watching the children cryand the mothers wail + shadowan old woman faintscovers her son left alivehe breathes quietly + monthsno human face looksback at me as I walk throughthe streets with my rifle + my buddyMichael slashed a throatwhile the man slept in the darkand laughs about it + initiating depthsMichael said it’s timefor my bayonet to bleedwhen we’re on patrol + we see them eatingin the corner and Michaelquickly opens fire + soulburns darkly tonightI can’t play my fiddle nowmy gypsy soul died + my sonhow can I go homesee his young eyes look at meand not die again + hawksfollow paths of troopsknowing a meal is comingwherever we go + remembrancecounting the bodieswas never allowed out hereGod knows their names + my lifewas playing fiddlebringing joy to the facesto folks in the streetthe ghost of that lifeis looking for me somewherehe’ll never find me + orchestraserving my countryhas deafened me to musicI thought was my life + deathwill be easy nowthe deep rumble in my heartbegs for some stillness + woundedmoaning is constantsinging somewhere deep withinnever to be seen + my motherhas her own gardenin the corner of our yardplease bury me there + not a traceof our whole time herewill be shared with the publicwe did our jobs wellnot one young personwill escape the grave they’re into attack us now + I feelI am a gravestonepreparing to come alivewhen I fly back home + fearsimy wife will feel likedancing at the Water Holethe night I get homeiiI will have to saysomething to my wife and kidsso they’ll know I liveiiithey cannot know meor the person I’ve becomeor I’ll kill myselfivI’ll have to pretendI’m really blind and deaf muteso I can survivevit would be easyto start walking to Utahand live by myself + hopesiI pray it’s all goodwhen I look deep in their eyesI’ll forget my pastiino questions will comeno memories will surviveno tears in my dreamsiiiI’ll sing to my wifeand the shape of her dress willpull my fiddle outivnightmares will go hometo villages that birthed themand I’ll sleep in peacevthat the Lord forgivesthe way preacher Daviesalways says he does+returningfrom the war emptyI think I still love you nowforgive my distance
r soos is one of those old poets who hasn’t learned better, and intends not to. He blogs several times a week at http://rsoos.com . His books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. His life has the same aches and pains as all the other old folks he knows.