there is a gun pressed to my chair
not sure whether to feel safer or more scared
the room is tense
waiter sneaks glances onto the young man, no older than 25
rolling his dice could not be louder than the 45 dB
silence, easier recognition just in case
i ask my dad not to take a secret photograph
Fatherless men, of fortitude
gaining the respect of others.
Brothers of arms, where one
falls, all would fall for another.
Never do they go singularly forth,
a unit of the numerous.
A back is never left alone, one covers
another, two are exclusive as another.
Closer than family are those who
would take one for the other.
Never knowing if the one decision will
bury them with a flag, as others salute them.
Encased within a gilded cage
With clipped wings as if I could-
-and have no doubt I surely would
take flight as once I surely did, to soar the skies, to taste the winds, to thrust my wings and let the breeze-
-take charge as I let go my fears and let my instincts lead my route.
Above below and through the clouds, I sore to heights so high that man below appear as ants and city lights serve to remind of man whose whims I must abide where I a canary caught in their grasp.
There was a time when I was free to dream of soaring upon crests of wind
And then that time came crashing down within a moment when man set his eyes
That moment when my guards were down
The very moment I lost the freedom I had had
And clipped, my wings, so I would never know the joy of freedom flying to and fro'
If only that was what they had in store perhaps their would remain a glimmer of hope
Alas it wasn't meant to be
I was a sacrifice to what man considered his
To live at all expenses lest within a mine beneath the ground the noxious fumes would dispatch man, their life no more, they all would die
And so it's i within a gilded cage whose mankinds fatal line of defense
And so I'm lowered in my cage
To serve as warning for all those men
Who treat me kind as kind can be
'For they know when I stop to breath they might be next lest they escape
And so now stripped of taking flight
I serve as signal, my death their sign that noxious fumes are deadly know and all they need as proof is I
'For in my cage I'm meant to die which signifies a lethal strike
I am the canary down the mine
My freedom gone all that I have
Is to pray that my death is quick for all my freedom no longer exists.
Between the crosses,
row by row,
Joe by Joe.
See the dilemma?
didn't you know?
tech and such..
"23: July 24"
"24: October 5"
"25: February 19"
"26: December 14"
The words went right to the pit of my stomach.
All doubt was gone.
I'd graduate/be drafted in June.
I'd be in Vietnam.
My high school gym teacher had been an Army sergeant.
He stepped on our stomachs as we did sit-ups,
"toughening us up".
I've had a problem with authority
to obeying unconditionally).
I'd be a poor soldier in the best of wars.
But if a job required some independence/ingenuity --
a pilot or a spy, say --
and if the cause was right
(World War II, for instance),
I could fight as well as another guy.
I don't like fighting,
but I'm not so naive as to think it's never a necessity.
There's always someone who, given the chance,
will take our possessions and make us their slaves.
So who should decide
if a particular war is justified?
This seemed to be my own responsibility.
Vietnam? I decided it wasn't.
Weren't we protecting a democracy?
No. Thieu lacked popular support.
Wouldn't Thailand and India fall?
No. The domino theory was questionable at best.
Weren't our national interests at stake?
No, not really.
I'd decided I shouldn't fight;
They'd decided to make me fight.
The physical was set for March.
Unless I failed,
I'd go to Vietnam,
go to jail for seven years,
or go to Canada for the rest of my life.
In studying Army regulations,
I found a fascinating chart.
It showed for each particular height
the greatest and the smallest weight
the Army would accept.
I'd heard of people who'd gotten out
by injuring themselves intentionally.
Some exaggerated a minor back pain.
Others faked insanity.
Losing weight seemed nobler;
lying/mutilation, not required.
The low for me was 118;
lose twenty pounds and I'd be out.
(At 5'10", that's pretty thin.
Could I do it and not get sick?)
My parents thought for sure I'd die.
Help from doctors was out of the question;
on my own I studied nutrition.
Cut down on calories,
maintain needed nutrients
(protein, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals).
Once I found a working combination,
I stuck to it without exception.
Cottage cheese, wheat germ, and fish were staples.
Bored fat cells chose self-immolation.
My weight dropped to one hundred and twenty.
In cases where the weight was close
I'd heard the Army sometimes winked:
("Oh we'll fatten this guy up").
I decided to lose to one hundred and ten.
Contrary to my parents' fears --
though vigorous exercise made me dizzy --
I really wasn't sick at all.
The Army sent a special bus
to take us to the physical.
Once there, we stripped to underpants,
moved like cattle from each room to the next.
I weighed 110.
They classified me 1-Y
(examine again in a year;
if still unfit, reject).
Losing again would be inconvenient,
but free of worry since I knew that it worked.
I'd brought some food.
I drank and ate it ravenously.
So what did I feel on that bus heading home?
Triumph? Elation? No.
Relief, sadness, and guilt.
Relief because finally I was free of this mess.
Sadness and guilt because someone else
would be made to go and fight in my place.
It's true this person, on some level,
had chosen not to escape --
but maybe he just hadn't thought it through. . . .
Now for a bold statement from a slimy ex-draft-dodger --
I'm sure you'll think this hypocritical -- :
Each of us must be ready to serve.
Responsibility for protecting things we love
can not lie solely with the professional military.
(Future wars could overwhelm them.)
Service isn't always guns.
Service might be joining the Peace Corps
or electing leaders who effectively distinguish
false threats from real ones -- and pre-empt war.
Wars should be rare, thrust upon us.
No more propping up tottering dictators.
No more shoving "Democracy" down people's throats.
No more sacrificing 10,000 soldiers so we can pay a
quarter less for gasoline.
Wars should be necessary and just;
everyone should serve.
Johnny wants to be a soldier. Johnny had a schlong.
Johnny now is Jenny and The Donald says it's wrong.
Jenny loves her country and she wants to serve and fight.
Trump says she's not worthy and no longer has the right.
Susie was born as a girl but knew she was a guy.
Susie now is Sammy and he only wants to fly.
Went to join the Air Force - Was rejected on the spot.
Knew that he was qualified, but Trump says that he's not.
Trump was born an ignoramus - still is one today.
Never served the military - always got his way.
If you're not the same as him you are the enemy.
You're not worthy if you're poor or a minority.
Started with transgendered, better watch out if you're gay.
Blacks, Hispanics, women, he would love to throw away.
When nobody's left the military will be grim.
Trump will have nobody left who wants to fight for him.
If you're an American and if you long to serve,
better not be different or they'll label you a perv.
If you say you're boy or girl and ready for your chance,
all that matters now is the equipment in your pants!
Mired in history, coiled around by cheap reflections
On previous ramshackle glory,
Roman armies camped in valleys,
Swords trickling with blood from the battle
On the heath. Bodies covering the bracken
Like a foreshortened locust swarm, wingless
Over the town. The triumphant Italians had there
On the high ground, above the sinuous Col,
And baths. Marble hauled in from Sicilian quarries,
Loaded on to Carthaginian ships by fierce North African slaves-
Themselves beaten warriors.
They were in the town when the tribes struck,
Dying in chains.
Before their own savage deaths, they slaughtered
Others, cut them into ragged pieces, decapitated, raped,
Choralling songs of victory, leaving none alive.
That day, the dun hills smelt better!
They torched the temples and wasted the proud theatre,
The slender apogee of culture.
Now the town slumbers in the present,
Burying its past under beautiful gardens, purple flowers and
Raffish gladioli peeking out from unobtrusive suburbs
Stinking of ancient corpses.
Some say it's thicker than tar,
Others say it tastes like turpentine,
To the first I'd say that rumor is stretched too far,
And to the second I'd say it tastes quite fine.
As long as you do it right.
I'll even give you the recipe:
- A pot of water
- Coffee grounds (1/2 cup-3/4 cups)
-A non-tattered boot sock (it'll take a little while to find a good one)
Step 1: Pour coffee grounds into sock and tie it off.
Step 2: Bring pot of water to a rolling boil
Step 3: Steep sock and leave it in pot.
Step 4: Remove pot from heat source.
Step 5: Wait 5 minutes then serve.
That's all there is to it,
The magic behind it all,
Add or subtract time as preferred,
Cheaper then a coffee machine,
Once the right sock is found.
It is an odd thing to learn,
So off the wall and profound.
Are you brave enough to try?