Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Day Before Veteran's Day Observed

On the day before
our veteran's day
of free haircuts
and Main Street parades
Captain America called the cops

to negotiate.

He had taken a gun
and a hostage to
a locked corner office
with a downtown view,
but if everyone did
what he told them to do,

there was no need to be afraid.

I just want you to put me away
in a quiet place
for the rest of my days.
I'm not the man I was before,
and I can't live with me anymore.

As a grateful nation
held its breath
and the Captain's handlers
quickly left,
the SWAT team stoned
a hero to death.
Hey, all give some -

some give all.

---

Process Note:  I know this is really rough, but I wanted to work with it while my feelings and impressions were still fresh.  On the day before Veteran's Day, a veteran in my community stormed a random building and took hostages.  Details are still pretty sketchy, but his only "demand" was to be taken to jail so that he could spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement.  We claim to hold our soldiers up as heroes (our real life Captain Americas), but we do a damn poor job of giving them what they need when their hero work is done.

No one was injured in Monday's incident. 

"All gave some; some gave all."  --- Howard William Osterkamp, Korean War veteran

Written for (and highly influenced by) Kerry's prompt at Real Toads.

15 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh, MZ, this says a ton. Yes, the young men come home shattered, with PTSD, injuries, and shocked psyches, and there is no way they can "assimilate" back into what passes for normal life, they have seen too much. Great write. So sorry that happened in your community. Scary.Am glad no one was injured. Hope that NOW he can get some help.

Sylvia K said...

This is so heartbreaking and it does happen far more than anyone wants to acknowledge!! You've done an awesome job and I do hope he gets some help NOW! No one could have said it better, MZ!!

Katy Magee said...

Yes. This.
Thank you so much.

Hannah said...

You captured this scenario with such a flow of motion and emotion, I think, MZ sometimes what might feel rough to us as the writer is just as it's meant to be. I couldn't agree more with your notes.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I found this story to be so moving - despite the terrifying circumstances for the hostages. We understand so little of PTSD, and give scant regard for those who gave all. It must be hard to see the very worthy Captain Americas struggling to make sense of their role in society, when all is said and done.

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Marian said...

MZ, thank you for your poem. I stand with you.

Also, I am fucking sick of the above Boycott American Women person, who is on the brink of becoming a sickness in our pond. Fuck off, man. Argh!

xoxo

Susan said...

Damn! Some days I want the padded cell too, with much less cause. I want so much for individuals to have other ways to power than isolation, guns and hostages, oppression of the masses or taking an extra long time crossing the street!

Lorraine Renaud said...

This is so touching and it hurts, he should have been looked after, but so any come back so damaged that no one wants to be near, and it breaks my heart,and I love what you wrote...and maybe some loving family who has living through similar experience might take him in and heal his wounds.....
i have a feeling i left a comment but i don't see it, maybe....?

Carrie Van Horn said...

I am glad no one was hurt. The angle you have chosen for the prompt is both powerful and moving. Thank you for sharing this Mama Zen.

Brendan said...

Thanks MZ - We honor those vets who gave the ultimate sacrifice in fighting our handlers' wars with that saying, but those who live on with the freight of their sacrifice -- many of them living dead -- makes that saying especially condemning. Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" is a good inventory of Vietnam war wounds, and David Finkel's "Thank You For Your Service" is the best nonfiction account of the freight of Iraq war sounds. Also on Monday Thomas Young died, a quadripelgic vet who had become an outspoken critic of the war and had spoken before of committing assisted suicide in Oregon. Some of what we have to sacrifice ourselves is the freight of Captain America -- that war heroism can live on back home. Victory in peace is a whole different game. I didn't expect anyone to venture its massive length, but I posted the penultimate poem of my Over Here vets series -- "Band of Brothers" -- the other day. It's a long road home after coming home. For all of us, but especially for those trapped in our icons.

Manicddaily said...

Thanks for the poem, which is very eloquent. The situation makes me sick. I honestly think that we should have a draft, and maybe that would help. People treat a professional army in an especially terrible way as so many of the people joining are not wealthy. But it makes me sick that flag waving people are especially eager to cut benefits, and the benefits that are there are so poorly administered. k.

Manicddaily said...

Thanks for the poem, which is very eloquent. The situation makes me sick. I honestly think that we should have a draft, and maybe that would help. People treat a professional army in an especially terrible way as so many of the people joining are not wealthy. But it makes me sick that flag waving people are especially eager to cut benefits, and the benefits that are there are so poorly administered. k.

Fireblossom said...

I think our govt's treatment of soldiers is cynical and shameful.

grapeling said...

I'm reminded of frank zappa's comment, that politics is the entertainment division of the military (or some such.) ~