The Green Room
The nurses use it as punishment, threatening it,
pointing to the heavy steel door, massive lock.
My rage continues, my mouth spews, my volume
becomes the norm in every patient, chaotic bliss.
The nurses press buttons under desks, men rush
to silence, contain, still, I am stronger.
“The room awaits” they shout, silencing most patients
I am fury, and wrath, I am justice.
The needle is fat, the liquid is cold,
my rage dies and is replaced with death.
Tan door opens silently, the room is unknown,
the floor is odd, neither solid nor liquid.
My feet explore the rubber, wavy and cold
eyes do not see, hands touch vertical floor.
My screams are absorbed, ears never hearing myself
nose smelling old rubber, skin feels the bounce.
Appointment kept, script in hand, line shortens, nervousness
will they judge, will they condemn, will they understand, no
trained to smile and fill, the white bag passes from plastic to hand,
other shoppers see, they judge, they condemn, they look away.
The label prints small, one pill every day in the morning,
phone checked, must wait, must endure, not time,
sleep is elusive, the pill awaits, all focus is on the pill,
morning comes, still dark, label checked, no time assigned.
Water falls to glass, hand shakes holding, the need is real,
bottle cap yields, the safety film is broken, no return
cotton removed in hopes one pill sticks, no,
shaky hands, the desk and floor meet the pills again.
Securing the future, pill slides into mouth,
the seed watered, the nervousness leaves, the wait
begins, mind assured the pill will fix the pain,
the pill unlocks the genes, then some accepted “side effects.”
Why do you fight? For religion, as they tell me? For Family, as I suspect? For country, as they disown you? I am shown a silhouette of you as I land on your soil. What do you see? My family is safe from you with me here; but is your family safe with me here? Who shot first? What was the shot in a response too? I am trained to not miss, we count you as a kill. What do you count? When one of ours is killed or injured, we are angry and vengeful. When we rack up our next kill, it is seen as justice. What do you see? When I am relieved of duty for the day, by my brother in arms, who relieves you? We can watch the news and see progress in our fight. What do you watch? Who tells you to continue the good fight? Will you be there tomorrow? I will be. A cold meal packed full of science to sustain my battle and cause; what will you eat? The bed is hard but supports my tired body and soon I sleep knowing my brother in arms has my back. Who has your back? I arise to an alarm clock that tells me to reengage the battle and relieve my brother in arms. Did you sleep? I shower yesterday’s battle away careful to conserve water and dress for the next. Do you even have water? I tag out my brother with a quick smile and a joke about our counts and who’s is higher. Are you relieved? Who shot first? What was the shot in response too? Why do you fight? Every trigger squeeze, the question burns my brain with the discharge of the shell as it lands silently in the sand of your soil and my kill count grows higher.
Truck worn and scratched, paint neglected, lid opens silent.
Bunk, steel frame and springs, mattress made by the lowest bidder.
Army green wool blanket, itchy, and too hot for July.
Laundry bag hung from the bed post, unknown key to survival.
Lock placed in right hand, unwieldly and clumsy.
Brass key quickly attached to steel beaded neck chain.
Lines, marching, quit your bobbing yelled at each.
Clippers unit all as one.
Lines, marching, quit your bobbing, yelled at less.
Uniforms piled high, women pin, cut and dress.
Boots issued, polish in left hand, cotton cloth in right.
Uniforms marching, direction changes given.
Iron found in trunk, out of 36-2903 yelled at each.
Polish broken in the can, boots smeared.
Fear validated, extra duties assigned.
Belt chipped, out of 36-2903 yelled at some.
Section leaders hired.
Lights out, blanket suffocating and itchy.
Bunks flying, trucks kicked, locked tried.
Fear validated, examples made of each.
PT time, blisters and pain, muscles cry.
Shower bays bare all, water shut off, soap still on all.
Fear validated, sit ups assigned in the shower bay.
Water restored, soap is now the enemy.
Time given to restore the bay, leaders fail, others step up.
Fear validated, bunks tossed, and sheets stripped.
Laundry bags emptied in a pile.
Markers lay claim to what might be yours.
Uniforms marching, stopping, turning, about facing.
Chow awaits, plates loaded, 3 drinks each.
Buzzer signals chow is over 3 bites in.
Drinks downed, uniforms marching.
Learn time given, briefcase in left hand, manuals of Greek in right.
Questions barked at each, unable to answer.
Standing asleep still marching, Lackland lasers heavy in hand.
Lights out, blanket beneath, laundry bag cloths on top.
Two already recycled by day two. Sleep fast for 0400 comes.
11 pm, flopping down,
the air is stale,
the pillow exhales loudly.
Breathing in with expectation
of her smell, rewarded
with sneeze and cough.
My mind makes a
false memory and tells
me she is still here.
Forcing a smile at
my ability to still
believe, knowing I lie.
The air is stale,
her smell is gone.