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Fenna Capelle Nov 22
War
Even war is crowned with solemn peace
That crown passed on from reign to reign
And from king to king even the gold does fade
So does the glory in the sword that's stained

The sword was silenced and then was heard no more
The blood stained veil tore before my closing eye
Thus it is the dethronement of peace that's the coronation of war
Yet could ever a higher cause such a darkness dignify
In my experience
Combat is like chess
But it's like playing chess for the first time
If it is a sudden threat.

But it is also still
A male dominated thing,
And I was put down
For being female.

In cadets,
We had enemy drills
Thrown onto us instantly
And we had to make a move.

I graduated top of my unit
But it wasn't easy.
I was like the rook on the board
Protecting my commander, the king.

My general, Sargant Major General Tsalikis,
He would play moves that
Were against the rules
But did he care? No.

Of course he didn't
Because in war,
Who follows rules??Don't we all break them?
?We break the rules
To protect our king
To get our queen in the way of battle
To protect the man.

But in battle, I found
It actually isn't at all like chess.
Because in chess you have smaller pieces,
Pawns that you can sacrifice.

It's not like you can sacrifice
Those on the front line
Because they are the ones
Protecting the back.

In this situation,
Especially in cadet training,
All you can do is
Work with your comrades.

Because some people think that
The army is an individual thing,
Each man - or woman -
For their own

But when you work alone
You won't come out on the
Bright side of the war,
Trust me.

Having been told war stories
And being told what it is like
To see people, either the enemy
Or your comrades die.

Having been told stories
Of the women not being
Pushed because they were
"fragile creatures"

It's horrific. ?I decided then and there
That I would work harder than them
To graduate top.

Not because I'm an
Overachiever, but because
I wanted to prove that I,
A woman, could do it.

So I played the chess board,
I put my best foot forward
I pressed against the men
And I stood my ground.

So when I was put on the front line
In a paintball bulleted war,
I was the one left standing
When the rest were on the floor.

I was nearly 'killed',
But did I give up when my fellow
Soldiers-in-training dropped
To the floor???No, because in chess
You cannot pause when you lose
Any of the pieces on the board
Or you will lose too.

So, in my cadet experience,
The army is somewhat like a chess game.
As well as a sexist group,
But my chessboard was well-played.
I will never be the same
annh Jun 10
They wear their bodies inside-out, some are ashes but few are dust. Vacant orbits, oblivious to the incoming tide and the percussive artillery from the heavily fortified positions on Rue de la Mort, view the world with equanimity. Their bloodied stillness at odds with the surrounding tumult.

It’s at times like these - pinned down behind a burnt-out vehicle, the sand skipping around me with the phut-phut-phut of spent rounds - that I envy them their final freedom. Not that all deaths are as elegant and instantaneous as a well aimed bullet to the head.

It is a fleeting thought, hardly even that, a whispering somewhere in the background of my consciousness, like listening to a low-tuned wireless. And with victory as with defeat - with the ear-ringing silence - the whisperings become louder and more persistent.

Right, left; up, down; stop, wait; walk, run; sink, swim; live, die. Some pray to survive, other’s yearn for the sweetspot, the one shot ****. Regardless, there is no doubt that we who remain will fight on for weeks, for years, for decades and continue to live the uncertainty of the living - sweating bullets until kingdom ****** come.
‘They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.‘
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jack L Martin Aug 2018
It was a hot summer Georgia morning.
The fresh smell of pine
The sounds of marching solders
Reveille played over the loud speakers

As cooks, we started our day early
Everything seemed normal
Normal for Army life, that is
Life that I got used to

I put on my uniform
Polished my boots
Walked over to the dining facility
Expecting to fail inspection, again

"Report to HHC Immediately!"
24th Infantry Division (mechanized)
"First to Fight"
This was serious

What was going on?
Confusion afoot
Kuwait was ambushed
Sadam must be stopped

We marched over to the gymnasium
There were stations set up
Line up for innoculations
Fill out your Last Will and Testament

March over to the barraks
Pack up your gear
Only what you can carry
Sneak in some comfort items

What about the rest of my stuff?
Someone will look after it
Don't worry, it's safe
Soldiers are a bunch of thieves

March over to the National Guard barraks
They look like the did in WWII
50 double bunks in a row
they smelled moldy

This was our new home
until further notice
I haven't slept
in 48 hours

No communication
to your family or firends
I snuck out
to the pay phone

Not sure what to say
other than don't worry
I love you
goodbye

I am one of
the first one hundred
soldiers to depart
Single, no close family

We board the ship
It is massive!
USNS Capella (T-AKR 293)
In the Savannah Harbour

Tanks, helecopters
Trucks, supplies
One hundred ARMY soldiers
Ready to disembark

We stand along port side
at parade rest
A tear rolls
Down my face

Thousands of civilians
Waving flags
Cheers of goodbyes
Crying children and wives

The ship leaves port
slowly pulls away
the cheers fade
into the ocean depths

First day afloat
The ship rocks slowly
Hard to get used to
Motion Sickness kicks in

I worked in the galley
T-Ration for breakfast
MRE for lunch
T-Ration for dinner

I ate with the Marines
A-Ration meals
Privilege of being
a Food Service Specialist

Trash accumulated
Throw it overboard
Alongside the bow
Death to the oceans

Many days pass
I read a book
Hyperion (Dan Simmons)
The only book I had

I sit on the deck
the sea in all directions
mystifies the soul
we are alone

I wake up to discover
Another ship next to us
USNS American Explorer
(T-AOT-165) Refueling ship

We reach the Suez Canal
Egypt looks beautiful
To the east: lush greenscape
to the west: barren wasteland

Egyptian Militants
watching intensely
along the shoreline
they saw my camera

Merchants come aboard
"Good deals for you,
American G. I."
I bought some batteries

I get to phone home
satellite communication
ten dollars a minute
worth every penny

We reach our destination
Twelve day journey ended
time to unload
organized chaos

All hands on deck
mechanized disembark
crash course
on driving a tank

Transported to my unit
in the tent city
they got there first
flown by commercial airliner

time to roll out
loaded my gear
WRONG TRUCK!
Ruck sack gone forever

Lost my walkman
lost my camera
lost my book
was in the ruck sack

to be continued.........
I joined the ARMY in 1989, straight out of high school.  Active duty station was Ft. Stewart, GA.  Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment. Desert Rogues: "We Pierce!"
Graff1980 Mar 2018
Scabs crusting;
Feet wrinkle
with an unrelenting
wetness
in cold socks.

The soldier walks
reaching the point
of contact,
a swift interlude
of gorilla combat.

After the gun fight
he collects
small bullet casings.

Then when silence
finally comes at night
he takes them out,
rolling them
through and around
his fingers.

Various
colored casings
of memories chasing
each potential
point of pain;
He imagines
the cycle of sorrow
that each projectile
might have injected
into this world.

Then the soldier
buries the bullet casings
and
finally, leaves the battlefield.
Chester Michaels Sep 2017
PTSD 22

Piercing through that troubled gaze
The fields of war fill the vacant stare
Search for peace through the combat haze
Desperate for darkness back “over there”

Pondering fear of a lifetime ago
The desert’s pain fills the empty boots
Still at war, for peace they go
Down in hallowed ground, 21 gun salutes

Pour one more strong for the 22 a day
The men of war can take some more
Saint Peter’s gates open to light the way
Defenders of peace only brave this door

Place your battle outside on the floor
To the warriors’ home in vallhalla’s hall
Soldiers only, long after their war
Day after day, salute 22 More

Chester Michaels
Journey of Days Aug 2017
dinner
tonight
guest list
hmmm
I will be wearing combat boots
oh and the pearl drop earrings
topics of conversation
awe don’t worry about me
I’ll be fine
filter
not sure where that is
that ok with you

@journeyofdays
there are some invitations you have been waiting for with the oh so proper folks

the boots.. yes...polished up and ready to go..
Ellis Reyes Dec 2016
Before he was here
He would have said, "bereft of feeling,"
Now he says TBI

Before he was here,
Overwatch was a game.
Now it keeps him and others alive

Before he was here
He was a conscientious vegan.
Now he's an omnivore,
Devouring vacuum sealed inorganic meat byproducts.
With vigor

Before he was here
Musty was the damp basement smell-- endearing, familiar
Now it's the infection smell -- nauseating, familiar

Before he was here,
There was good and evil,
Now there are only shades of evil

Before he was here
She was there,
Always.
Now she is gone,
Forever.

Before he was here
Death was distant, clinical
Now it's cloying, visceral

He doesn't know if he'll be able
To return to the time before here
He doubts it.
A poem written with borrowed words: Bereft, Musty, Overwatch, Omnivore
Surrounded by mud
our feet make love to the surface
                                                        the bullets kiss us, the bayonets hug
                                                      our intestines.....

                                         The blankets
                                        cuddle with our cold, decaying corpses

we write to our wives, letters that will never be delivered

                    the wet ground gives our feet an unpleasant present
                    in the form of gangrene,

the rats  make themselves at home,

feasting upon the rotten
                                 flesh of fallen comrades.....

the maggots make use
of newly formed skulks and aged decaying bone

                                         then comes the symphony of artillery....

    the roar of gunfire, the marching of tanks
                                                    the mighty foot soldiers, and
                    the majestic golden smoke of mustard gas

          the trenches become our unwanted love
         and our unholiest of homes......

"The tears do not shed
the blood does not spill, and the soldier does not die"
is the common the battle cry sung upon us


            these bitter notes of blind fate forever sing to us
                                          

                                               the illusion of life and the irony of war.....
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