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Private James on the Plane Home


This is a poem I wrote after meeting a young soldier on a plane. He was coming home to Colorado from Iraq.

Private James on the Plane Home

We’re being sent back in April
but this time it’s for eighteen months instead of a year
My mama would pray for peace
maybe she’d just be praying for me
she died the week of my first deployment
after that, I didn’t even try to be tough
no use pretending
just causes stupid decisions. I mighta took up for a friend or two, but
I didn’t try to be no hero. Do they let you smoke when we get to this airport?
I joined up when I was seventeen a couple of years back
my Daddy’s a fabricator and that
don’t pay for shit no way for college
I never was much of a studier
Robbins and JC were signing up
the recruiter explained the code and the grand plan
how cool to be all you could be with a uniform
but mostly we thought it’d be like spy shit
all kick ass Matt Damon
we found out ain’t nothing cool about hands blown off
and Baghdad kids throwing rocks
ain’t even possible to explain how it feels
to have a kid hate you so bad
he’ll chase after a truck full of soldiers
us sitting there in that flat bed holding our M16s
staring back at a bunch of little boys
with dark eyes and dirty faces
chunking rocks
like a whole country of hate crammed into those soaring rocks
that shit hurts too
some shatter against the truck bed
even their rocks can’t hold themselves together
looking down at the dirt of that kid’s wasted throw
makes me feel like there’s nothing
any of us can do
except what we’re told
until somebody else from somewhere else
comes in to take our place.

Laura S. Moore


joyomosh's picture

World Leaders Need To read this!

I think this is a true representation of what the troops in Iraq are holding in their hearts just so that they can offer service to their country. There is little regerd for the women, children and relatives left behind. I salute Private James and all others in the service!

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