A (very) dark poem

This is the darkest thing I've ever written. 

Like everything written, it’s a lie (I didn’t see that in Iraq, I was in the gulf, not in the country, but I’ve seen it in through others eyes and in pictures online) and it is inspired by another poem from a dear friend which has been eating at me (in a good way) for years.

It's about MY war guilt. If you are a veteran or show it to one, keep in mind this is MY war guilt, not anyone else. Don't cry that I'm saying anything about the service, 'cause I'm not.

This also isn't about politics, so don't say that this party did that or that president did this. The consumers did it; the consumers elected the leaders; the lobbyists paid off the leaders with money they got from consumers purchasing corporate products.

It's about MY consumer guilt. If you’re a consumer, then yes; it’s also about YOU. Take 5 seconds to think about what you’re grown in oil, plastic packaged; transported 'round the world, life is doing to other people.

There are a lot of references to things I guess some people might not recognize. If it doesn’t make sense, click on the stars. If there are too many of those, I guess it won’t reach people.

Thank you for reading this… what I would really like is harsh, honest, painful feedback on whether or not it reached you at all and how it could be changed to reach more people, and in a better way. Please tell me what parts had an impact and what parts left you cold or confused. 

And most of all, now that I’m holding this foul little thing, what do I do with it?


I lost my God outside Iraq
She walked away from me
A beautiful little Arab girl
with half a face I see*

Amazing grace how sweet that sounds
B’what saves that wretch from me?
My own little girl has both her eyes
god help her eyes to see.*

Did we pray "rain!" for our crop was dry
and curse our neighbors yield?
For he had watered all along...
and can't eat a rotting field.*

Today her neighbor is next door
and half, the wide world ‘round
and how she prays for cheaper gas
says where the guns are bound

There are too many of us now
for just one god to know.
I’m scared to pick a god to fear
if again, this gun must go.*

If I could ever sleep again
and never see that eye*
and only see my daughters face
and never wonder why…

the butterfly flapped it's lovely wings*
around the fuel pump fill 'er
And told the lords of war that I
must be a godless baby killer


Lawrence Lile said...

>And most of all, now that I’m holding this foul little thing, what do I do with it?

Tell the story, the full story, tears and all over and over at least a dozen times to someone who promises to listen and not interrupt. It's hard to find someone like that, unless you are paying them to be a therapist, but it is possible. Retell the story until it ceases to have so much power, until you remember it but it doesn't grip your heart like it does now - until your memory is of telling the story, not the events.

Then listen to their story.

Big Al said...


This memory is toxic.
This memory is radioactive toxic,
And should be treated as such.

It should be buried in a deep salt mine of collective memory
And be ignored for countless generations.
It has no place and serves no good.
It creates feelings of guilt and revenge
For anyone that allows it in their thoughts.

But it won’t be ignored.
Its glow is irresistible
For the feelings of purpose and righteousness
It creates in its possessor
As it slowly rots them from the inside.