War on the Home Front

By | 31 October 2012

One. The Soldier: 6 June 2012.

Fallen into a war he cannot win
In conflict with sobriety
So long in the field his socks are filthy
Skin dry, caked in dirt and mapped in blood
He has not showered, cannot recall when he last washed
There’s much he can’t say of his battles
He must be coaxed into remembering all he wants to forget
It is the constant reverberation of explosions
Criticism bursting in his conscience
Truth exploding in showers of rage, until
Shell-shocked he admits to terror
Unable to confront the enemy face to face
At the bar damaging himself hand to hand
At war in no mans land is where he stands
Suffering combat fatigue, nodding off
In the trench of work, on the tram,
At the dinner table, exhaustion is a given
Sleep is delirium interrupted by bombardment
Constant as not thinking just slipping
Alive into nightmare battles where he wins
Only to be crushed along with his battered enemy
The soldiers’ lot does not end just because it is night
Apnoea the phantom strangler stalks the mind
Every endless eight-hour repose to wake to another day
He knows will be worse than the day now gone.

Two. The Chaplain: 6 June 2012.

He is a high priest of tales
Teller of tall stories
Indignant of non-believers
Intolerant of sceptics among his flock

Tears flood in the telling,
Drowning exhausted pilgrims
In the Nile River of contrition
Fake myth that it is, it works

On the alter of alcohol
He sacrifices sobriety
In rituals of mumbled jumbo
He requires fear not belief

He knows he too fights a war trapped
Within a doctrine of deceit and cunning
He is more sinner than sinned, for all he prays
His prayers will not fill the empty pews.

Three. The Spy: 6 June 2012.

The double agent cannot forget
His duplicity but at least
He never offers up information
It has to be dragged out
His supporters he believes
Are enemies in disguise
He lives behind his iron curtain
Letting his puppet life a free hand
After all it is only play
In a game of make believe
You make yourself believe, to be
Whoever you need to be today
To cover your real mission
To find a message in a bottle
Kidding your self
It is a skill that comes naturally
And if there are no witnesses
Who is there to deny your present identity?
Who you will betray depends
On who comes close to unveiling your deceit!
You are the spy and you must betray
Those closest who will unmask your shot eyes
Any who expose your fatty liver, swollen belly
Exposed an agent of your own demise
By the compulsion to lie under your
Disguise you pretend is the truth.

Four. M.I.A: 6 June 2012.

It is the ones who cannot get over
You not coming home
Night after night the fretting
Bloody imagination playing merry hell
Scenarios of every possible way he went
The women and children statistics
The men listed as missing in action at the pub

The real truth of his war is old news
It is hard to help, offer ground support
Widows and orphans, brothers and sisters, friends
Who know in their bones one bad moment
Is all it will take to hear the news
You have been expecting ever since his war began
He is not coming home from the front bar

Damaged beyond sense and cursed to live
Brain shot to pieces toasting at the tap
Liver and Heart suffocating under layers of fat
He’s home but missing in action
Missing the point wishing he were dead
And he would end his mission if he could
Think one thought through to the end.

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