This role is not yours to be had.
If it were, you would challenge the direction of your country.
College isn’t beyond the summer.
Draft cards don’t burn easily.
Enlistment is the only choice; at least you get a choice.
All, because your country called so loudly.
Soon, you will be on a boat halfway around the world.
To get there, you will travel the path of least resistance.
Any attempt to object would be futile.
Sailors do as they are told.
Pain, both mental and physical, are in store for you.
But, for now, you are nervous and excited.
This torment will last you a lifetime.
It will only be known to a select few.
I am proud to be in that group.
How did you get here?
A boy from Frederick…
A life defined by a cell.
These moments are meant to crush normal men.
You aren’t a normal man.
No, you’re a caged bird meant to fly.
And soon you’ll make your greatest escape.
As you do, lives will be forever changed.
Each decision will alter the timeline.
Space and time will bend.
Men will be left on the battlefield.
Lives will be saved.
Boots and blood; blood all around.
Crimson shines brightest in the moonlight.
Years from this moment, you’ll blame yourself.
The night will be filled with terror.
Please remember though, all you could do was run.
You still had wars to fight.
Martyrs from Manitou don’t die.
They give of themselves completely.
A life chained to the field wasn’t him.
He was always meant for bigger things.
The fault of a father can’t deny him.
Shortcomings never make very impressive shadows.
Where the father fails, the mother shines.
Her love guides him.
The pain stays with him to this day.
You should know this, as we lower you into the ground,
No man can beat him to death
And you never could.
Our hero is and was destined for bigger moments.
War was around the corner.
The world is a challenging place.
It is a place I must occupy with other people.
I live with them here.
Everywhere I turn, their ideas and opinions follow.
They are heavy as a shadow.
Even at noon and midnight, I feel them near.
I dream of escape too.
Sometimes, the frustration becomes overwhelming.
A perfect path, the light, seems so obvious.
Cemented interests say otherwise.
So, we fight. We become violence.
All to prove a point to people who are not listening.
I sit on the edge of the world.
My feet hanging out in space.
Shoes kicked off are now lost to the laws of physics.
I am thinking of jumping.
Black, dark, and a need to get away.
Consumed on Earth. Swallowed by the infinite.
Maybe I will stay put. Maybe I won’t.
The choice is still mine.
Crowded around a kitchen table,
Tonight, we are in the business of solving problems;
The world has plenty to go around.
With every sip, the challenges become less.
Every rotation of a record means something new.
Our days of festive evenings have passed.
We are here now.
Or, perhaps at a corner bar.
We are together, though.
It is something new;
A spirit of revelry.
The world seems to find us standing still.
All the while, days on the calendar escape us.
Time betrays us all.
All the while, exposing our greatness weakness, hesitance.
But not now.
Here, time slows down.
The kitchen table could be a pew.
We are filling each other up.
This is the spirit of revelry.
Sitting among the headstones.
The Oklahoma sun shines down on me.
Birds sing their afternoon song.
They have no use for reverence.
Underneath, you are changing.
A hostile heart is becoming something new.
The cool grass sways near me.
Ants assume dutiful work.
My mind wanders, as is frequently the case.
I miss you.
Longing for second chances,
A monologue is started for no one.
It may be meant for me;
Something to put a restless mind at ease.
Searching for second chances.
Redemption that will never come.
The time spent here is important.
Another trip may not be within me.
Circumstances will lead me away,
But my heart is changing.
All because you are here.
Never meant to be a symbol.
There are others who came before.
They carried the cross long before me.
I walk their path with head held high;
A journey emblematic of the times.
Getting here took some time.
Determination of Napoleon…
The grit of John Wayne…
The courage of the Cowardly Lion…
All emblematic of what was required.
Now, I am free.
Life is different now.
I am surrounded by those who matter.
Their love consumes like the ocean.
I am planning on drinking it in.
What happens next is meant for me.