Tour of Duty

He wants a new language!
Ratta-tat-tat! Ratta-tat-tat!
The old one’s full of homonyms
That sound too much like war:

“Military-industrial”; “Humvee”;
“Bombs bursting in air”;
“Predator”; “duty … honor … country. …”

BAM! Ker-pling! Ka-boom! BAM!

Even “pride,” even “love”–
Drafted into service.
Every word has a medal
Stapled on its buttocks.
Every word’s a hero
In an honor-guard casket
With a flag drooling over.

Tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat. …
S p l a t !

Armor-piercing bullets say,
“Accept the world as it is!”
The shock and awe of their logic
Like cancer in children’s dreams.

Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom….
BAM!

Guns talk to guns–
A crimson tete-a-tete.
Nothing succeeds like excess.
Under the din of mourning–
Litigious sirens wail.

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

There is no light except for
Laser-guided missiles … and … possibly

Whoosh!

Enhanced night-vision goggles.

Gary Corseri has published articles, fiction, poetry and dramas at hundreds of venues worldwide, including, Dissident Voice and The New York Times. He has published novels and collections of poetry, edited the Manifestations anthology, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has taught at US public schools and prisons and at US and Japanese universities. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. Gary can be reached at: gary_corseri@comcast.net. Read other articles by Gary.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on November 29th, 2008 at 6:36pm #

    “Accept the world as it is!” I am trying I am trying but so many will not let me. The truth the knowledge does it matter anymore. Oh yes more than ever. To be continued

  2. mary said on November 30th, 2008 at 7:55am #

    Is that Boom boom boom….boom boom oBAMa or is that to come?

    More of the same I would say and I read that plans are being laid for 15,000 more troops to go to Afghanistan (joining the 60,000 already there) letting loose their evil weapons and wearing the same garb of duty and honour.

    I like this poem very much but wish that what it conjures up was only a nightmare.

    ‘Maj. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, meeting with Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment, last week at the austere Forward Operating Base Delaram in Afghanistan, characterized the Marines as “starting over” in that country. Waldhauser, commander of the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Division, praised the Two-Seven, which has begun returning home, for its success in mentoring Afghan police, killing Taliban fighters and making contacts with tribal leaders.

    “You guys have lived the dream,” he said.’

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan24-2008nov24,0,5733953.story

    Couldn’t make it up, as they say.

  3. Don Hawkins said on November 30th, 2008 at 8:39am #

    Great song and the future started yesterday and we’re already late and we’re the generation we can’t afford to wait is starting to be understood. If you see, new generation, cap and trade and just more business as usually with a green tint probably a good idea to stand up and say it loud tomorrow starts today and we will not wait. I think many of you know now this is going to be tuff like really not easy and building a new World anything but boring. Stand up and what Mary put that commander and that dream he was talking about a better approach no more broken promises no more call to war it’s time to build a new World. Watch the new guy high upon the hill and if needed tell him the truth the whole truth.

    John Legend “If You’re Out There”

    If you hear this message
    Wherever you stand
    I’m calling every woman
    Calling ever man

    We’re the generation
    We can’t afford to wait
    The future started yesterday
    And we’re already late

    We’ve been looking for a song to sing
    Searched for a melody
    Searched for someone to lead
    We’ve been looking for
    the world to change
    If you feel the same, well go on and say
    If you’re out there
    Sing along with me if you’re out there
    I’m dying to believe that
    you’re out there
    Stand up and say it loud
    if you’re out there
    Tomorrow’s starting now…now…now

    No more broken promises
    No more call to war
    Unless it’s Love and Peace that
    We’re really fighting for

    We can destroy Hunger
    We can conquer Hate
    Put down the arms and raise your voice
    We’re joining hands today

    I was looking for a song to sing
    Searched for a leader
    But the leader was me
    We were looking for the world to change
    We can be heroes
    Just go on and say
    If you’re out there
    Sing along with me if you’re out there
    I’m dying to believe that
    you’re out there
    Stand up and say it loud
    if you’re out there
    Tomorrow’s starting now…now…now

    Whoa now…now…now

    If you ready we can save the world
    Believe again, start to mend
    We don’t have to wait for destiny
    We should be the change
    that we want to see
    If you’re out there

    If you’re out there
    And you’re ready now
    Sing it loud, scream it out
    If you’re out there
    Sing along with me if you’re out there
    I’m dying to believe that
    you’re out there
    Stand up and say it loud
    if you’re out there
    Tomorrow’s starting now
    If you’re out there
    If you’re out there
    If you’re out there

    If you hear this message
    Wherever you stand
    I’m calling every woman
    Calling ever man

    We’re the generation
    We can’t afford to wait
    The future started yesterday
    And we’re already late

  4. Ramsefall said on November 30th, 2008 at 8:49am #

    Gary,

    the carcinogenic thinking of accepting the world as it is — imagine how much less progress mankind would have made through our slow evolution by adhering to that counter-productive shibboleth.

    As we know, accepting the world as it is embraces complacency and results in slavery. We are obligated to create the world in which we want to live, setting standards by example, showing kindness to our neighbors through grace and compassion. Another tour of duty to protect their interests only perpetuates human suffering in the name of nationalism.

    You’ve poetically pointed out the inherent fallacies in such a passive mindset.

    Nice work, thanks.

    Best to you.

  5. Edward Campbell. said on December 1st, 2008 at 4:06am #

    Perhaps a mime by the late Marcel Marceau on;

    The Silence of the Guns; would have given us a different kind of barrage, and maybe he did, at another time and place.

    Anyway Gary; thanks for the thoughts.