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i used to have this
friend
we would go outside
during the days
after the bell

one game we played
was kind of like
hunting
except it didn't
feel natural

lizard brains
were easy enough
to catch and ****
without a second
thought

we would stuff their
mouths
with explosives
then find and burn
the remains

until that time he
accidentally blew off
his own hand
we don't play anymore.

#EndTheWars #SanctionsKill
(for Mike & Jason)
Sean Martin Nov 2020
We had an enemy we didn't understand
We had an ally we couldn't rely on
All we had was each other
All we had was our brotherhood
All we had was our rigorous training
We were baptised in fire and violence
We were sunk in cruel unrelenting combat
We struck back like Hammer and Anvil
We kept hope in a nightmare paid with blood, sweat and tears
Some of us left without a beating heart
Some of us made it but forgot how to live
Some of us turned our scars to success
However those left of us that have managed to survive...
We all feel as if we're standing in the centre of a Burning House
Trigger warning
Lily Mar 2020
The man was leaning back in his fancy wheelchair
So much that he was almost parallel with the ground,
And while everyone else who was
There for the church service was freaking out,
He was as still as a gym before a free throw.
His left leg was not present, his right one at an unnatural angle,
And my mind started to conjure up a bomb
That had thrown him through the air,
Away from his friends, his commander, away
From his life as he had known it.
He had large homemade, not quite mittens,
But knit sock-like articles over his hands,
Alternating orange and black yarn with only a couple of
Cute errors where orange touched orange or black touched black.
A slight grunt, a swift motion, and the mittens were off,
Revealing a left hand twisted into a fist and a right hand
In a white cast, hanging limp at his side.
His soft peppermint scent, large wrinkly face, and wispy
White beard was reminiscent of Santa Claus in the mall,
Though Old Saint Nick was never that far back in his chair.
His assistant was a frantic college girl who looked like she had lost a child at the park
And was trying to decide whether to ask for help or
Continue to struggle helplessly on her own.
Each turn of a dial or press of a button pushed the man farther down,
Until his feet were almost higher than his head.
Yet on the man’s face was the type of smile that a grandpa has
When he’s about to checkmate his grandson in a game of chess;
Triumphant, knowing, loving.
He must have seen me openly staring at his cruelly funny dilemma,
For he turned to me and grinned,
“Don’t worry about it; makes life interesting.”
I smiled back, not knowing what else to do.
As suddenly as a pitcher throws to first,
The man jolted upward, and his chair returned
To its normal angle.
With the crisis averted, church
Began, and although I tried to focus on the preacher,
My eyes and mind kept wandering to my veteran.
His one leg tapped to his own drum,
His strong voice belting out the melody on the hymns,
And a hard “Amen!” was heard every other sentence.
Happy.
He was happy.
He had one leg, two useless hands, was living in a place away
From family and friends, with much of the joys
Of his youth over, past, gone,
Dead.
But my veteran was happy.
His frantic college assistant seemed very pleased
That his chair didn’t have a repeat episode on the way out
Of the chapel after church.
He shot me a quick nod as he was wheeled out,
His wisp of a beard bouncing on his chest.
Perhaps he would have been a Santa Claus at a mall
In a different life, one without war, sadness, pain, hardship.
Maybe he could have been a more active grandpa to his grandkids,
If he had them; he could have played football catch in the yard,
Secretly baked cookies for Grandma with them at two in the morning,
Get on the roof and scare his kids hanging Christmas lights.
Maybe he could have done and been all these things, but for the
War, sadness, pain, hardship.
I know what the veteran would say to that though:
“Don’t worry about it; makes life interesting.”
Thought I'd write about a character I saw at a veterans' home church service this Sunday.  I thought he had a good lesson to teach, although he wasn't aware he was teaching.
Michael Stefan Feb 2020
Heave **! Your cry astounds
Flummoxing your enemies ashore
Debonaire you brandish pistol and sword
Cutting down resistant scallywags

Thy treasure shall be mine!
You dash haphazardly between slashes
Excitement and *** course through
Fueling you to victory

Imposing is thy stance!
Booted foot on stack of cannon *****
Actioned-packed adventure
As you reave and raid the seas

Your adventure keeps me alert
But my ship's an iron beast of land
I think of daring combat
And your exploits give me hope

I load my rifle in hot anticipation
Prepared to write my own adventure
The giant steel hatch lowers
And hot iron rips through me

My adventure ends prematurely
My *** is without excitement and masks pain
A hospital bed now serves as my galleon
Your book by my bedside, untouched
This poem was inspired by 3 months of laying in a hospital, as I had major surgery on my back, kidney, shoulder.  It was a terrible experience that I would never want anyone to share.  I remember being so ******* reading books about glamour and adventure.  Rarely does adventure leave you without scars and war is far from glamourous.  War is hell.
Michael Stefan Feb 2020
You throw money at me
People smile and slap my back
Full-ride my boy!
You are set for life
I can't stuff dollar bills in broken vertebrae
Your filthy cash won't balm my burns
Nor wipe away my bullet scars
Your ******* money can't ease my mind
It isn't patchworked convalescence for wicked dreams
I would trade all of the money in the world
I would knock down this castle of pennies
To not be nickeled and dimed
For a quarter of the functionality
That my body once had
Sorry guys, I wrote this when I was medically retired from the U.S. Army.  It still brings a tear to my eye thinking about the day they told me that my spine wasn't going to function correctly for the rest of my life.
ghost queen Jun 2019
i look out into dark, savoring the quiet, the stillness of new dawn, wondering who die today, whose life will end and whose will change forever, sending a shock of wave of pain and grief from an epicenter of a dead soldier

who will die today, whose mother wife daughter will cry today, whose father son brother will fall today

the sun has risen, reality has set in, its time to ride, its time for some to die, we roll the dice, who will land snake eyes

to sit in the humvee, knowing you are playing russian roulette, you can’t  have hope, no inkling of a dream, lose the desire, it is the only way to survive, knowing you may die, give up all hope, consider yourself dead, be grateful at the end of the day when you are not. the drive down suicide alley, like the walk up gallow’s stairs. now i know how they felt. you surrender to fate. you stop thinking, you stop feeling, you go numb.

no longer in control, my life is no longer mine to live or die

i don’t believe in You, not since i was a boy, but i pray, that if we hit an IED, that i die instantaneously. i don’t want to lay on the ground, feeling the horror of dying, crying that i want to live, screaming out for my mother like i’ve seen happen to other guys

there are things worse than death, the living hell of coming home in pieces, physically damaged, emotionally traumatized, spiritually disillusioned, which slowly erodes and destroys your life. a new war, another battle, this time at home, fought in your head. the cycle of trauma 6-9-12, addiction, depression, how long do you let yourself free fall till you hit rock bottom

i am a man, i am not suppose to be afraid, but i am, i can’t show or say, not to them, especially not to you. i am not allowed to show fear, be vulnerable, you will lose respect, stop loving me, tell me to man up, in some subtle way

when everyone has left, everything lost, when the pain is greater than the fear. you must, you will, reach out, or die in combat, killed in action, in the war fought in your mind.
JDL Nov 2019
Unsung heroes whom bare our scars
 
Substitutions to fight our wars
 
With strength and dignity that isn’t learned
 
To provide the freedom we didn’t earn
 
Like wounded victims upon their shoulder
 
Our weight they carry feels like a boulder
 
Yet in strength they stand to serve us all
 
So that we are not the ones to fall
To Veterans and to all who are currently serving, thank you for your dedication, sacrifice and loyalty. Thank you for being our substitutions.
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