Monday, November 14, 2016

In spite of orders not to ask, and not to tell

Thank you for your service
And by service I mean Sacrifice
And by sacrifice I mean Innocence
Thank you for sacrificing your innocence
For believing in something more than yourself, more than your hopes, more than your dreams
Thank you for believing in something so blindly, so completely
That you were willing to give your own life should it be asked 
If only for a piece of blue cloth with a bunch of stars on it
Thank you for believing, for falling in love
For proving that you -a young black man- are capable of love
When the world insists you are only capable of violence and poverty and depravity
Thank you for falling.. in love

When you fell they tell me your eyes were open and your fists were clenched
Courageously grasping the cold metal of a trigger
That weapon you thought would sound and make you whole actually tore you apart
You died a hero among strangers but you died a hero
Never mind that you came back a ghost 
A ghost with a cardboard sign sitting on a street corner saying
"I gave you liberty, can you give me a dime"
"I spared your life, can you spare some change"
"I saved your country, can I have warm place to lay my head tonight"

You came back a ghost but you came back
And the gasp of a bottle freshly opened is the only memory you have of your comrades' laughter, 
The ones who faded forever into foreign dust
The dull flame of a cigarette butt is the only memory you have of the headlights on that rescue van 
That dragged you home, that brought you back, 
Those lights you now wish you could crush and extinguish on the cold concrete you sleep on
Thank you for forgetting the rest, for forfeiting your peace of mind, a piece of your mind, 
So that civilians might chase money freely, oblivious to the indiscriminate carnage that is war, 
As we avert our gaze and walk briskly, our heels spraying sewage on the painstakingly written message 
You put on cardboard