Monday, May 28, 2012

A Transitional tale

I thought I'd give the Triplet form that Roger's made famous over at his blog, Chasing Tao, a go of it today.  Please visit Roger's site for a much more profound use of the form and see all the wonderful examples he has on display.  This piece is intended to be looked at three-fold, photograph, Verse, Video.  Thanks.

I wanted to try
I wanted to make
This world a better place
         Yes, I understood, to do that, I would have to travel dark and terrible tunnels
         Of course, I knew, that to succeed, others must fail, others would surely fall.
“Life changing,” is what the recruiter spelled in that initial meeting...
         and I bought the bait…excited to do so at that, to be a hero, to change the world, to let freedom ring, through the valleys of atrocity, to the shores of oppression…we cheered when each flag fell, when power was returned
but, no one ever said how life changing this all would be

Throbs of
         Each and every morning—when loud sounds stir-
Unsure of surroundings—of mission—of faces of family and friends-
Unaware—the war’s been won—finding fist formed, trembling, in a half-sleeping hand, staring down at a woman that loves you unrequited…

Snapping, at pin-tinged words—that provoke a bouquet of chastising gleams, from those who always told others how well they knew who you are and what kind of man rests inside—yet that was a different lifetime entirely—and now, all you want, is
For someone to save you
From those seeds planted
Deep within…seeds that continue to green, despite all the psychological weedkillers stirred about...
                  All you need is to see the flag, unfurled and proudly traveling it’s fabric’s length—spanning much, much further distances than a mere cloth could possibly transmit- and you salute, every time, regardless of where or when...

Honor and duty, you plod along, until you get your next directive, hoped for, under the guise of a civilian blanket, one that cannot keep your turning body warm at night—
you pray that a new assignment will take you far from this strangest land of all—
you’ve always done what’s been told—
As all good soldiers do—
         But at ease, is something you fear you no longer can do

Obviously not a celebratory piece, just not how my minds wired lately, but still wanted to take part in the Memorial Day celebration over at D’Verse, and thought an artistically, I hope, filtered informational piece about the tragedies of our nation’s heroes suffer upon their return home, how they leave their family as Person A but if they are so lucky to come back at all, they almost always return as Person Z, whether they speak of the differences or not, they see it, and in some way or another, they know things are not how they vaguely remember things, that something has changed. 

I know several people, that have served and they’ve all been very candid about their re-acclamation.  Each of them speaks as to how the world does seem reshaped, yet they just don’t know how or why.   They all seem to be transitioning adequately, yet do speak of having to seek counseling, wake up in cold sweats, unknowing where they are, and yes, nightmares always seem to part of the conversation. 

The one that has the hardest time is one that’s just returned home this past year after 10 years of deployment, and he’s told me that while the beer tastes much better being back home, he does feel like he’s still having to look over his shoulder at all times, amongst many other tragic aftertastes.  The worst though, has to be his 12 year old son, treating him as if he’s just another stranger, polite, yet distanced.  He says how he would look forward to getting new photos, and how he’d use them to help stay grounded while away, but when he first reached out to hug him, the child merely said hello and went to shake his hand.  His doctor says it might take some time, for all parties to readjust. And they all are fine with that, or so they say.  But I believe them, yet I wonder, should transitioning adequately be okay at all. 

My personal feeling is that the Governments of this world truly need to get their priorities in shape.  They need to come up with better solutions than simply sending their youth out into combat, where whether a single shot is ever fired or not, they become altered. 

Protecting one’s greatest assets, life and freedom, should always be the main priority, and obviously military operations will be a part in this defense, yet it would be nice if the system at hand is altered somewhat more than it already is, to help our brave heroes transition as seamlessly as possible, without fear of what may be next. 

Obviously you tread into neuroscience, and the mind is a funny beast, very difficult to pin down in entirety, but more science, more research, as I’ve heard it is, should continuously to be, done. 

The families of those who do not return, as well as of those of wounded veterans, which I use the term wounded in it’s broadest scope, need to be taken care of better than perhaps they already are.  The heroes should be remembered and praised for their courage and their unselfish acts of sacrifice, for it all is a sacrifice, is it not? 

Obviously I didn’t do this conversation justice, as there’s just so much more territory to go down. Yet I feel I got down the gist of the message I wanted to get out, and only hope it has been adequately displayed.  So, this is just something a bit heavier to mull over as we all eat our fruit salads and barbeque this afternoon.  As Decoration Day, as this holiday was originally named, is supposed to be for remembering those servicemen and women that have died.  But death, is that not such a subjective term, and in such, I think our definitions should be expanded somewhat.  

                              Mama by Godsmack


  1. no i appreciate this man...i know this is hard for soldiers to come home on so many levels...i did not go to war...but being away from my fam for 9 months a few years was hard coming back...all the friends i had here moved on to other things...i can only imagine a soldier gone to war (even without all the trauma of war) returning after several years would feel socially out of place...then add onto that what they di or saw in following orders....oy...nice though provoker man...

    1. yeah, I get it too, but obviously not to the extent of a soldier, or being away for 9 months straight, but I used to work at a job where for 10 years I was gone from home 9-10 months out of the year, now granted it wasn't straight through, which, in a way, kind of made it harder, as you got a day or two between projects and you're barely able to catch up with things that never got done while away. But yeah, friends leave, which I understood, but after I couldn't work anymore because of my injuries, I just assumed everything would simply turn back to how things were, but obviously things move forward and things change…magnify that by the war factor, I can't begin to imagine the magnitude there. Great response, really appreciate it, thanks.

  2. Having served myself, I used to see the effects of our troops coming back from a six month stint in Northern Ireland when the bombings, and the knee cappings, tar and feathering, was at the highest peek and some of these men were never the same either. They lived on a constant knife edge of danger, never able to relax. Never knowing if they would live to the end of the day and arrive safe back in their barracks again.
    I agree with you on not wanting anymore wars.
    It needs the money men to stop making more money on selling arms to the ones who pay the most money. It needs religion to be dropped by all nations and not fought over. It needs an end to greed and, it needs humans to wake up and realise we are all (underneath it all) the same. We want to live, love and stay alive.
    Very deep, and fitting post Fred.

    1. Oh, this is amazing feedback. I have to agree with your assessments in the second half here, unfortunately, and perhaps it's because I'm either too much a realist, or pessimist, I just can't see these criteria met, tis a shame too. Again, great feedback, really appreciate it. Thanks

  3. A great triplet and perfect for the prompt!

    1. Thanks Anna, really appreciate it, especially seeing this was the first of Roger's form that I ever tried. Glad you liked it.

  4. the last paragraph is very sincere.

    i also connected with the first stanza that talks about the soldier going out to make a better world. how sad, if he succeeded, then he is more world.

    four memorial day senryu

  5. One of the great tragedies of our lifetime is the lack of gratitude and even disdain that some of our soldiers received when they returned from war, especially after Vietnam. I've cared for some of them as a nurse and it hurts. Thank you for the direction you took this Fred.

  6. Beautifully written, Fred. And, very, very powerful.

  7. Yeah that is so very true, all this war crap has to stop, as they just go about it willy nilly. More people need to just stay no. I respect what they do and such like that, as they provided all of us with the freedom we have today, but the higher ups need to piss off and get their priorities straight, stop trying to fuel the economy through war and such. No idea what it must be like for them to come back after so long and realize how everything has changed, it's like they were thrown in jail or something in many a way.

  8. Thought-provoking and heartbreaking -- the soldier who starts out with a heart to serve, and returns changed, losing that spirit he had it seems.