“Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble”

— Were You There,”  African American Spiritual


….their sons and daughters lost

their arms and legs and faces,

their youth and joy and lives

at Ka-san, Ia Drang, Fallujah, Kandahar,

those flag wavers who know all about

battlefields and heroism,

second stringers who served but never

threw in for ambush patrol,

those never in combat who love

to tell war stories and march in parades,

the shysters of Fourth of July and Memorial Day sales,

politicians of sad excuses and devious deferments,

kings, aristocrats and generals

who rally their troops from behind the lines,

promise booty, glory and a gravestone

at Arlington Cemetery


Were they there when all hell broke loose,

the recliner brigadiers of the television wars,

or did they sit back, prop up their feet,

raise their glasses in airconditioned homes,

watch smart little bombs on virtual screens

penetrate windows and bunkers

with pinpoint accuracy

thousands of miles away


Were they on foreign soil

when they cheered the children

of the Revolutionary War

to fight false fights to save the sorry ass

of the greatest country in the whole world?


Sometimes it causes an old soldier

to rage, rage, rage….


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