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8.3k · Aug 2013
Identity
Noor Aug 2013
Who is the man who holds my gun when the world turns deathly still,
With hardened coldness in his veins as he prepares the ****?
The roaring engine, the radio chatter, all go perfectly quiet.
All that matters is ending the threat, it starts with sight alignment.

The thumb pushes the safety.  
click
Stop breathing.  Steady.  Center mass...

Who was that man who held my body?  
Is he my enemy?  Is he my friend?
Can I please meet him again?
8.2k · Sep 2013
Routine Mounted Patrol
Noor Sep 2013
Canned latte, water, fruit punch Rip-It
Gulp it, down it, chug it, sip it
In the gunner's sling, sway side to side
240B in the cradle, M4 right side

Talk of ***
Talk of food
It's all allowed
Nothing's too crude
Sometimes you talk
Sometimes you listen
Don't talk later 'bout what's said on mission
Check alleyways, balconies, traffic, rooftops
At five miles-an-hour, this convoy never stops

Red Bull, Gatorade, citrus Rip-It
Gulp it, down it, chug it, sip it
In the gunner's sling, sway side to side
240B in the cradle, shotgun left side

In the distance, flashes of white light
Watch them bloom throughout the green night
Was it dust lightning? Was it a bomb?
Don't matter to us, this mission carries on
Two hours to dawn, eight hours 'til we're done
Check balconies, traffic, alleyways, rooftops
At five miles-an-hour, this convoy never stops
5.9k · Aug 2013
Homecoming
Noor Aug 2013
Hello Old Friend,

I just wanted you to hear me.
I think you heard every word, but I see you now fear me.
I used to get nostalgic remembering our talks under starlight
When we idly spoke of dreams, and other things, and the world felt peaceful at night.

But today I spoke of blood and smoke, and of human violence,
and watched the widening whites of your eyes within this smothering silence.
I apologize for pretending we could carry on as before.
You say you don't condemn me; they shouldn't send me off to war.

I wanted a friend's reconnection, not hollow pity.
I now recognize you can't sympathize with the dying of a moral identity.
In grief, not guilt, I sought my friend.  This was not a confession.
No vain imagining of a simple moral or life lesson.
Don't wanna' hear soulless, canned regurgitations
Of your textbooks' and professors' second-hand explanations!

You avoid my eyes, staring intensely at the floor.
We both can list my sins, but why is it only I can list yours?
Solipsism and narcissism.
You live a predatory lifestyle, ***** you're bored and wanting more.

That's it, then.  Goodbye, Old Friend.
I feel worse having spoken, and I won't speak to you of this again.
4.2k · Sep 2013
To Teacher
Noor Sep 2013
I see you, not a distant silhouette,  but a man
I'm gasping for air, choking on rage, sparing you, staying my hand

I'm looking into your eyes as you watch my brothers die
For this lesson in War I want to send you a present:
A 7.62 millimeter round at over 2,500 feet a second

I shouldn't, so I won't
But I would if I could
To thank you for teaching me to hate like this
3.8k · Sep 2013
Dear PenPal,
Noor Sep 2013
In a fit of pique truths were written.
In a moment of reflection all was deleted.
Platitudes were written back instead.
Who am I to speak of the dead?

A wife was ungrateful with truth.
Did a pen pal want
what the sacred vows of marriage
Make unacceptable realities?
For whom would I have written? Who would it have pleased?

Staring at a fresh e-mail in humbled wonderment
that someone would give decent pretense to care
I -safely back from war- now ask: what do you want to know?
Do you really want to know?

Is it my place to tell
of seeing a man's insides
on the outside
of a vehicle who's occupants he unwittingly saved
by stepping on the landmine instead?
The mine splattered the survivors' vehicle in red.

Is it my place to tell
Of listening to the medic's confession?
Hearing him speak of tasting the blood in the air
like pennies on his tongue.
There's a tale I haven't heard sung!

I met my Shadow
I embraced him so deeply that I
As I had existed before
Ceased to be.
The naive child thinking it was Light
The Predatory Survivor others (cowards!) may judge as Dark
Were forged together
Stronger perhaps
Time will tell
As the alloy of two selves is unified by a personal hell

Cheering at outgoing steel rain
Laughing after the whizzing of bullets is a memory
Running, racing to donate more blood
Mourning the fallen while bathed in the dim red glow of chem lights
Watching honored corpses loaded in near darkness for their last helicopter flights

Is this what you wanted to hear?

Perhaps you knew.
Perhaps you imagined you knew.
Regardless
For your consideration
Thank you

For your innocent
Well-intentioned
Beautifully petty
Gloriously naive
And honest letters
Thank you.
Truly
2.1k · Sep 2013
Copper and Chalk
Noor Sep 2013
My bones taste like chalk
My blood tastes like copper
Pursuit of dreams needs subsistence

I consume myself today to find my tomorrow
Hopeful, I pull myself bleeding forward
I must endure
I can almost reach it
2.1k · Mar 2014
Swim the Neighborhood
Noor Mar 2014
When clouds conquer the sky
The disposed Texan sun shines through in shades of grey
The air turns thick before the heavens explode

Pedestrian cars disappear from roads
Winged animals huddle in shelter
As the clouds weep sheets of warm happy tears
They make rivers of abandoned streets

Then come the children in bare feet
Blinded by heavy rain
Laughing, drinking, cheering, dancing
Lost in joy, absorbed by natural wonder

The clouds applaud in lighting and thunder
Driving the dancers indoors for warm towels
And Doritos chips, burgers, and video games
1.6k · Mar 2014
The better morning
Noor Mar 2014
With burning breath
Watch the scarlet sunrise chase away Orion and Taurus
Ecstatic freedom is paid for with euphoric agony

Colors bleed in this wonderful unreality
Wind drowns out other sounds
Blood has boiled away

It is liquid pain in these veins
And still the run can't stop
The race against the phantom youth is being lost

Wind-borne tears, sweat and snot
Are wiped away or ignored
The race is being lost

Until the finishing line is crossed
Now feel life affirming agony
Taste sweet pain, delicious air

An hour later a soul crushing hell  
Back to the grind, the soul hides
Living as an angry shadow
Noor Jun 2014
How are mortar fire and flag-draped caskets more of a balm
Than the pharmacy of drugs they tried to put me on?
Must be the company.

I felt more at home in a war zone
than that place my family's from.
More inner-peace an hour after a bullet whistled passed
than years after in callous curiosity I was asked
"Have you killed anyone?"
In church.  
By an adult that knew me as a child.
Go to Hell.
And f**k yourself.

Twenty-two suicides a day
is just the price to pay
for cheap goods and ****** internet.
1.1k · Nov 2013
Lunch in Baghdad
Noor Nov 2013
Two meals and one long night have past since last we ate hot food.
Sore and sleep deprived, we're in a fire-breathing mood.
A line of chatty fobbits and fat civilians stretches long.
In this line to chow we, warriors in a war zone, do not feel like we belong.
The mortar alarms' warbling screech fills the air.
The lanky, and the blubbery run with for bunkers, motivated by the scare.
We stand defiant, sore, and hungry in the open ground.
Tempting unlikely, unlucky death.  We ignore the sound.
The alarm shuts off.  An amplified, embarrassed voice says, "Ehh...false alarm."
Dear sweet idiot:  Thank you!  There's no harm
In clearing out the line.  We waste no time laughing and running to the front of the line.
Your inattentive idiocy almost cost lives before in this war.  But you are forgiven this time.
1.1k · Sep 2013
Still Human?
Noor Sep 2013
No horror.
No horror?
I feel no horror.
No fear or disgust.
Wasn't this red, dripping paste
A rational person
A distant friend
A battle-buddy
an hour ago?

His dreams, hopes, desires are splattered on the truck.
His life and loves are a chunky puddle soaking in the sand.
A torn boot found freedom in a parched field.
The foot stayed with the rest
It had grown quite attached after carrying a lifetime of recently splattered dreams.

The horror!  No horror.
A lingering sadness.
A detached coldness.
I feel unfeeling.

The treeline is leveled.
The joy!  The cheering!
The enemy paint the river rocks red.
Bury them in splinters!

What a waste of human courage.

Homeward now.
Stand tall for the customary congratulations
And hear sanctimonious cowards explain the meaning of it all.
Noor May 2014
He was alone
Far from home
Isolated by bullets
As he bled on sand and stone

The explosion triggering the attack
Crushed the vertebrae in a brother's back
A bullet tore through another's arm
The wound left a prominent scar

Through the radio chatter the lone voice of the isolated soldier:
"I've been shot...and it's bad."

Upon reaching the fallen, the medic knew from ****** experience
That his friend was a living corpse, dying is a process
And though the medic prayed he was wrong
He wasn't

Next week, next firefight
Their blood paid for our blood
Pray it meant something in the end
1.0k · May 2014
Allies
Noor May 2014
Our blood was too precious for them
"Take my blood," I said," A positive."  
"I can't," said the medic, "you're American.
He's Polish."

We attended all the final farewells.
The dirge was in helicopter whirls.
The Poles wouldn't bother coming to ours.
We held them at the most inconvenient hours.
You know, in the night, in the dark--like theirs.

An unlucky Polock who stepped on a mine
(ironically this might have saved 3 other lives)
contained in him the same shade of red
and judging by the mess, he was the same shade of dead
as ours.
I found his boot--it had been blown off and away.  We wore the same brand.
1.0k · Sep 2013
I LOVE adrenaline
Noor Sep 2013
I laugh as I spit in Death's face
He doesn't seem to mind
I'll be his in due time

I smile as I float in the sky
Then I parachute land
Break my ankle in the sand

I grin as I race down the road
Make a dangerous turn
Smell tires burn

I whoop as I jump off the cliff
Watch jagged edges fly past
Hit the water with a splash

As a child, cheer as I leep from the swing
Hit the ground at high speed
Scraped my knees, now I bleed

I crow as I ride the wave
Get smacked to the seafloor
Swim for air, I want more

When Death finally catches up
I won't be any more dead
Than those who lived safer lives than I led
1.0k · Aug 2013
Swimming lessons
Noor Aug 2013
Listen now, and listen well, Son.
Anything worth doing is difficult to get done.
Saying you are Brave is a fine thing to say,
But Courage can't wait for tomorrow, it starts today!
I know your scared, it's easy to tell
From the way you cry and way that you yell.
Control your fear, don't ignore it, and it may serve you well.

Wait.  Let's slow down.  Walk toward the deep again.
At three feet deep the water is up to your chin.
So, more shallow than that is a safe place to play
Enjoy the water, the cool chlorinated spray
And if you get in trouble I'll be there in a flash
To fish you right out and rescue your ...

...Your shorts are slipping down.  
Let me retie your drawstring.  There.  That's better...

Face your fear.  Learn to swim, and you'll be having fun.
Just remember your sunscreen 'cause you roast in the sun.
Now, let's play a game.  There. What do you think?
I'm glad you're finally having fun, but it's time to go.  You're turning pink.
928 · Mar 2014
Spoiled Breakfast
Noor Mar 2014
The boy,
Too young to drink a beer at home
Painted his friends in a lovely red that leaked from the holes in
His face and neck
And died on that beautiful morning

The boy,
Too young to sit at a bar at home
Rested on a olive-drab sled as he leaked a lovely shade of red that leaked out of
His face and neck
And died in time for lunch
918 · Jul 2015
Shark Island
Noor Jul 2015
Storm clouds raged across the sky and the silver sea boiled in the wind.
The great green fin of La Isla de Tiburon cut the water,
Mysterious, so painfully close, yet dangerously distant.
Monsters swam the gap and past waist deep the ocean had a lethal tug.

All morning we (father, big brother, little sister, and me) hunted in the sand for clams and later boiled them in a sardine can.
Dad ran along the shoreline and into the waves wearing yellow trunks, hunting with a sharpened stick.
Dad, the Wildman —hairy and shirtless—ran for our entertainment into the surf and whooped when a skate flapped pitifully at the end of his spear.
My brother kicked a trio of *****, fishermen's gifts, kept them from scuttling back into sea, and leaped over them for fun.

Sardines on saltines tided us over as the main course—crab, clam and skate—cooked on burning drift wood.
We children watched in drooling anticipation as a claw, wreathed in flame rose in agonized supplication
then collapsed back into embers to cook.  Froth bubbled out alien mouths and black stalk eyes.
Roasted alive seems an awful fate, but, oh, how delicious the meat!

Later, by lantern light my sister read her book over the protests of a gathering wind that scratched at our tent all night.
The sand spat out the tent stakes, but the poles held firm and our weight held our shelter down.
Never before and never again
I live here in my dreams.
913 · Sep 2013
Dissonance? Nah...
Noor Sep 2013
It takes too much energy
To see seven billion shades of humanity.
The answer is simple: the world's two-sided.
The right side
is my side
don't bother with shades, I've tried that.

It feels so good to feel this irate.
You can see the energy
given to me
by my justified hate.
Man, this anger feels great!

*******, we've created a cartoon villain!
How else do you explain the world we live in?
Come join us.
Add your voice to our chorus.
If you truly do have a questioning mind
How can you not see the glory of my side?

Forget it.  We don't want you, you've swallowed their lies
You have the same disease that infects the minds
of the soulless drones that move through their hives
blind and ignorant for all of their lives
clinging to those lies till the day that they die.

To imply that our hate has any resemblance to theirs
shows how little you have working upstairs.
We're right and they're wrong.  We just want everyone to be free
from the chains they've forged on the majority of humanity.
Our solution is so obvious anyone not evil will agree!
Why are you still asking more questions?
Haven't you been listening throughout this lesson?

Celebrate justified hate!  Bask in righteousness!
If you don't agree, feed my anger, then give me your silence.
882 · Aug 2013
Baghdad Suicide
Noor Aug 2013
A man died outside the bank
His death shattered windows
And stripped leaves from trees

After his blood and meat
Were hosed off the street
The pink froth went down a grate
770 · Aug 2013
Administrative Training
Noor Aug 2013
The doors open.

Engines roar and wind howls
The smell of exhaust fills the space
Here stand, weighted down, with clenched bowels
The line moves forward at a dizzying pace
I make eye contact with JM and hand him my line
I pivot and jump and for a moment I'm flying
All I see is blue sky, my feet feet point at the horizon

One thousand, two thousand, three thous.....ahhh!

The chute opens with a thundering snap
Check the risers, check the canopy, watch the plane fly away
Look down at the world, spread out below like a map
Taste the air, feel the wind, get control of my sway
Undo the ties holding the weapon case on my side
Give a whoop!  
No, be quiet  
Professional pride

Look at how the sun reflects off the stream below me in the woods and turns it into a molten golden serpent.

Right now, if someone saw my eyes tear up I'd blame it on the wind
Oh, how long until I can do this again?
692 · Oct 2013
So, that's over with
Noor Oct 2013
Boom!  Boom!
Shock waves shake the ground
Annoyed
I push my pillow into my ears to muffle-up the sound

Air sirens shriek long after the rockets/mortars cease to fall
Irritated
I shout to let them know I'm safe- accounted-when my name is read at roll call

I lay down, pull my bed sheets up to my chin
Relieved
Roll over, and go back to sleep again
683 · Sep 2013
Eulogy dance
Noor Sep 2013
Homeless lays on the floor of the alley
Curled up in a corner
His pants, too large now, reveal his last joke to the alley's passersby
Black flies dance on the exposed half-moon unmolested and uncontested
Under a grimy jacket, a bearded face is hidden
Flat eyes are cracked half-open, unseeing
Black flies dance across and feast on the corneas
Here Homeless lies
Until someone more respectable is bothered to be bothered by the smell
Noor Aug 2013
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, I said
You lost friends yesterday, they're dead!
It's ill timing to be the one to tell you, it's true.
It wasn't my place to tell, I thought you knew!
I don't know the names of the brothers you'll soon miss.
****!  I robbed you of a few more hours of ignorant bliss.
******************­***
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, he said
You lost a friend a few days ago, he's dead!
Welcome back from home and back to the fight.
Here's billeting for tonight; you'll be flying out at first light.
Oh, I don't know the name, take a guess, you have a one percent chance to be right.
Try not to toss and turn not knowing who you'll not see again. Sleep tight.
616 · Sep 2013
Faith
Noor Sep 2013
Tell me the light shines at the end of the tunnel
I will lie here in the darkness, curled and defeated.
Shine a light in the tunnel, I will believe you.
I will fly on desperate wings.
I will run with veins pumping burning venom
Outrun my breath
Strain every muscle fiber in this wretched body
Ignore the searing fire in my throat
Ignore the banging, pounding in my chest
I will believe what was said when I see a light.

Oh, please
Oh, please
Let the light be true!
610 · Aug 2013
Farewell
Noor Aug 2013
I don't remember seeing you before
The morning they carried you out the RG-33 door
We were in the late morning heat
Your friends wore your blood from their waists to their feet

...What a beautiful color

When I went for my letters I saw your face on the wall
Over a description of who you used to be
You were awarded a bronze star you won't ever see
And I'll never forget you
Though I never met you
547 · Nov 2013
Hate to hate to love you
Noor Nov 2013
I love you, heart and soul
Please, just disappear
I laugh at death, but a life of separation from you is my greatest fear

Can't imagine an existence without you, and wish you ceased to be
Though it sounds cliche, it doesn't feel that way, it's for you that my heart bleeds
Can't eat, sleep, or think through all this pain
After inexplicable joy of our first meeting
Separation has left me maimed

You deserve iridescent sunsets, realized dreams, all the best
Why won't you just fade into the grey mass of human strangers like the rest?

I wish you didn't need me too
I hate that I hate to love you
513 · May 2015
Drunk on Tuesday
Noor May 2015
I play in the mud beneath the window sill
Eat corn on the cob at a plastic child’s table
Mother takes pictures for posterity, smiles until

The child I was is dead, may he rot well
Too naïve to live, too weak to survive this hell

The backyard latch is opened with a rake
And I escape into the desert wilderness
To find castles, dragons, and a princess

Through the haze of rage I know to be as lethal as I would need to be
To **** the guilty would instead guarantee innocent casualties
But I’m looking into your eyes as you watch my brothers die

After the man’s blood and meat were hosed off the street
The pink froth went down a grate

You, my love
Have lied to me
Denied to me
My mercenary consolation prize
And legally stole my home

Pain comes in waves of light
Brightly colored from the left
Strips words of meaning, leaves only

Blood on feet…what a beautiful color
I’m ******
Noor Mar 2014
From up here

One slip is all it would take:
If I hit the ground I will splatter, and bones would break
As the wind buffets my body I feel alive and I grin
With death poking at me I feel joy and adrenaline
I feel joy and adrenaline
I feel joy, adrenaline
I need to do this again
I need to feel adrenaline
I need to feel
I need to do this again
506 · Feb 2015
Red
Noor Feb 2015
Red
Invisible, I stand in the middle of the road.
Frozen in place. Frozen in thought.  I have misplaced all sounds.
Soldiers pull their bleeding brother out an RG-33 vehicle in a flowing current of hands and fingers.
gentle, urgent
They hand him off to a swarm of medics then collapse into a grieving cloud of cigarette smoke.
The pants and boots—especially the boots—are coated thick with blood
so fresh and bright.
My mind defrosts,gathers a voice to shatter the silence
What a beautiful color
462 · Apr 2015
Homesick
Noor Apr 2015
On the first trip so far from home
With other trapped brothers.  We ******* and moaned
About the bad food, the sand, and the sun.
Bored, we counted the days until we were done.

On the second tour off to war
We saw the world raw as never before.
In flashes, smoke, and blood our old selves died.
In raging hate and grief I never cried.

On the third time away from here I found
A healing place were rockets shook the ground.
Brothers drove to work, and flew back to die.
In raging hate and grief I never cried.

The last time I stepped on the plane
I knew then my true home, but I might never be here again.

— The End —