2014 intercepted electronic communications, DOD…
aphorism identified as a threat to national security.
The aphorism envies the novel,
the novel, of course, envies the haiku
and the haiku envies the brief life of the leaf.
– Gen PJ Burke, U.S. Army War College
Authority is the kernel of riot
– Prof Emma Burg, LSE
War and Peace?
– Leo Bradley Tolstoy, Christian Agent in North Korea
1. The Department of Sand
Cpl Raymond Sands to Anthony Sands (brother)
With my surname, of course the bastards sent me to Iraq,
every leader leads to defeat this war
that “finished” years ago the green zone
glows in the dark we are the aliens.
The sky is falling… those habits of our hats
I have a life back home.
Failure is a sun.
2. The Department of Grease, MCB Camp Lejeune, NC
Pvt Peter Pitz to Terry McAnulty (high school auto teacher)
Thought the Marines were a real big deal— I’m not
some kind of hero. I fix cars. Always thought
you were an idiot. You said
every soul needs a plumber. I know
you can’t stay mad when you’re never hungry
but the walls expand to fit one’s waistline.
I’ve maybe had enough.
3. Naval Intelligence Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti
Lt Margaret Tannis to Cecilia Breen (wife)
Joy rationed is hungry. I have a job
because I have a language. You said
the light at the end of the tunnel is the way in, not out.
You said the future is always knocking down the front door of the present.
But there are oceans, not doors between us.
Tight focus on a loose shoreline, the bay will have its way.
But the way is away.
4. ICBM silo Great Falls, MT
Pvt 1st class Danny Thompson to Clarice Thurgood (girlfriend)
Your feet leave the ground when you dance
in the shit again, (embarrassment is the source of all bravado)
— fell asleep during a 12 hour shift (over there is your enemy)
and left the access gates open.
To see you again last weekend
to leave you again last weekend. Oxymoron: man kind.
About that fight, don’t worry about it
hate is too much like factory work.
I love you Clarice, we habitually pluck, tie weights to ankles —
yet are not birds.
I love you like walking
though those words are still plumage, this man’s music
the old avian strut about the concordat of hens.
You see, war (love) brings out the poet in me
for the poets are still wildly read
even here in this tedious purgatory.
5. Langley Air Force Base, VA
Col Jason Driggton to Emily Driggton (daughter)
Don’t trust the faith of those who failed to falter.
Your decision to leave university
(every single nothing matters)
worries me deeply,
your note Stop collecting. Now. Seems to be just nonsense.
I have been where you are.
Have we managed the past?
Where there is no certainty you have to pretend.
Love isn’t the answer, it was never meant to be.
6. Greensboro Vet Center, AL
former Cpl David Alborsen suicide note
There is a sanctity in our best defeats
all my friends out there (Forget your education!)
that’s where you stayed so
get fucked. The story of your life will be that it ended.
7. Washington Navy Yard– Community Relations, DC
Senior Chief Petty Officer Rosa Trejos draft valedictory circulated to colleagues
25 years expertise is your enemy.
I have lied with a careless grace
for truths that barely matter.
Wisdom is a tribe that demands regular sacrifice.
I have forgotten how to look back.
Never judge a word by the company it keeps.
Les Wicks and Kevin Brophy
1 August 2014