The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

THE PASS IN REVIEW |

April 03, 2014

Name: Charlie Sherpa
Previously embedded:
with former unit in Afghanistan
Hometown:
Boone, Iowa
Milblog: Red Bull Rising
Email:
SherpaatRedBullRising.com

Framed PASS IN REVIEW cover

Editor's note: The poems below are from the first issue of a quarterly magazine called The Pass In Review, which features stories, poems, paintings and photographs by veterans from all services. Edited by Alexander Zapata, it is based in Lindenhurst, Illinois. Its website home page explains that it is "focused on destroying stereotypes and misconceptions about the military veteran," and invites "veterans of all nationalities and conflicts to share their artistic visions with the world." It's Mission Statement and staff bios are here. The submission guidelines are here. We thank them for permission to reprint these poems by a longtime Sandbox contributor.

 

QUIET AS TOC-RATS

the talk in the TOC is just talk
and the sergeant major wants it quiet --
more church than circus tent.

we're not the brains of the operation;
we're more like a nervous system.
we keep things running, and people reacting.

we pass traffic by radio, Jabber, and MIRC-chat.
our burble and babble is hushed
by the air-conditioning and fluorescent buzz.

we tell stories on boards
and paint pictures for the commander.
we are Houston to his Mars.

through our bright projections, he squints
to pierce the fog of war. He will see his glories
only as shadows on our cave wall.

track the battle.
track the battle.
track the battle.

we no longer run to the sound of guns.
instead, we phone it in
and listen to reports.

our only fear is half silence:
the constant rush of static that signals
an end to our connections.

 

***

 

CAFE SESSRUMNIR

everyone knows about Valhalla:
the eternal time-share
for weary warriors gone
berserk with roidal rage
and Monster drinks.

not all appreciate, at first,
the monastic joys found elsewhere,
in this twilight hall of clockwork meals,
reflective belts,
and indoor plumbing.

but Mother Freyja claims
half the dead,
and there are many seats
here in her playground
behind the wire.

besides, why await Ragnarok
with kettlebells and grunts,
when you can work
your pickup lines
in this Fobbit coffee shop?

 

***

 

COMBAT PATCH

Another enlistment.
Another war.
Another deployment.
Another separation.
Another patch of sand.

 

Previous poetry posts on The Sandbox include:

Haiku, by Adrian B.
Lost In Thought, by Simon H.
Here, Bullet, by Brian Turner
Dispatches From The [War] Hospital, by Jennifer M. Pierson

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