Monday, April 27, 2015

Ras al Khafji and Beyond

Pete the Marine
lost in time again
says “who am I?”

Dredging from his unkempt mind
like so much half-remembered sand
a foreign land
a foreign tongue
a foreign time
when he was young

Leaving his office on a Friday afternoon
and a half-baked desert hobo lets out a yell
and Pete the Marine jumps and turns
no friendly fire
no warthog's screaming shells
to flash and burn and burn like hell

Keep coming back.
Keep coming back
in half-forgotten stories he was told
by that kid who wanted to sell him cassette tapes
cassette tapes in a foreign tongue
keep coming back
like the burning sun.

So Pete the Marine
might not know
might not know today – not know at all
just who he is
“just who I am”
without the sand
without the sun
without the stinking diesel-soaked dust
and smell of burn
and stink of death (baked-on, bloody death)
on a long, dead, stinking highway mile of death
or hear that sand
or foreign tongue
when he was young.

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