Maggie Martin

Army Values, Translated

Loyalty
Defer all decisions and moral obligations to an outside
authority. Relinquish choice, reason, and responsibility
for your actions.

Duty
Do what you are told when you are told without complaint
or hesitation. Put your family, life, and health behind the
needs of the Army.

Respect
Respect must be given to everyone that outranks you.
Do not expect to be treated with respect. You have no power.

Selfless Service
Do not feel sorry for yourself, resist, or even think of
taking care of your own needs. Your needs are irrelevant.

Honor
Honor the flag and the service. Do not honor yourself,
your sisters in arms, or your fellow humans.

Integrity
Act as if you’ve been a part of a noble cause. Insist we’ve
been trying to help. Do not express doubt in the mission.

Personal Courage
Endure more than any human can. Come back for more.
Pretend it doesn’t hurt.

Hindsight

A ragged child stares at passing soldiers
Band of babies, brown skin brown dust and dirty feet
Passing soldiers mingle at the market
marking danger with pointed weapons

A ragged child enamored with foreign soldiers
Mister Mister!
Smiling I reply, No, Misses

What a hero I am here in your market, in your country
I’ll give you candy and a stuffed rabbit
I won’t point my weapon at you
That makes us friends, right?

A ragged child stares at passing soldiers,
passing soldiers, passing soldiers,
for ten goddamn years!

A ragged child grows up watching passing soldiers,
arrogant and self-righteous, disrespectful,
not understanding, not knowing...

The ragged child becomes a woman, a man,
has no memories that don’t include passing soldiers,
invaders, occupiers

Daydream Legacy

GI Joe in the box, anticipation building, compressing.
Cami-clad  roosters puff chests, yet scare like skittish dogs
when thunder cracks.
"To those things that are brave and honorable;
we sacrifice ourselves"
words, oaths, and codes we are dying to believe.
Looming clouds of hubris block out the light,
yet vanish like phantoms in the quiet.
The desert hums.
Caravan of elephants winding to the horizon,
shaking the ground with excitement.
Fear. Lust for relevance.
We are a traveling band of actors,
brothers and sisters, strangers, imposters.
Channeling Joan of Arc and Forrest Gump.
Generation who cares?
We were looking for something more, than reality TV. 
A chance at redemption.

Brio

I have engaged the power of spring,
buzzing with life-force, ignorant of draught or death,
resilient as meadow-grass and morning.
We sow community in re-acquisitioned places,
crowded city-street, white walking shoes, protest song,
the un-sinkable strength, our hands and mouths.
And I have heard the rumble from feet on ground,
drum-beat depth, electric, commencement of the connected,
roll on, steadily advancing, through cities hungry,
stirring a hum in open heads and hearts. 
Old constructs crumble and blow away,
new consciousness takes root.

Mathem

Sadiki, friend, you
I swear I never knew
Forgive me, my friend

Paradelle of the Haunted

I rode my shabby bike down empty streets,
I rode my shabby bike down empty streets,
To fly my flag on Veteran's day─ no war.
To fly my flag on Veteran's day─ no war.
No flag to fly on my bike, war down streets.
My shabby Veteran's day, empty I rode.

Wet, drops and drizzle, soaked through Spanish-moss.
Wet, drops and drizzle, soaked through Spanish-moss.
The sky is filled with gloom─ grey faces too.
The sky is filled with gloom─ grey faces too.
Drizzle through; Spanish-moss is soaked and filled.
The sky drops grey faces, wet too with gloom

Uniforms walk in park, soldiers, brothers.
Uniforms walk in park, soldiers, brothers.
Unit flags with battle streamers jingle.
Unit flags with battle streamers jingle.
Unit flags jingle; streamers; walk in park.
Soldiers battle brothers in uniforms.

Soaked soldiers faces. My grey bike fly
Spanish-moss drops down to empty park streets
Unit in uniform walk through drizzle
The sky is filled with flags, my shabby flag too
Brothers, I rode wet with battle and gloom
On Veteran's day no war streamers jingle.

Quatern

American Form

Tan tent.
Hair dryer heat,
Imbue my bed through walls.
Sweating; I wonder why I’m here─
Betrayed

Cinquain

American Form 2

What pride one’s country can incite,
iconic stars on sea of blue,
all crimson alternating white,
on lunar land our colors flew.

We saw far lands, we brothers too,
what pride ones country can incite.
Though not all marched in time and cue,
for many did not choose to fight.

At crisis point to strike seemed right.
Our vengeance shan’t come overdue.
What pride ones country can incite,
a world of enemies to subdue.

Unfounded fear we misconstrue,
employ our minds less than our might.
For freedom’s debt the deaths accrue.
What pride ones country can incite.

My Body

I've taken back my body
It's mine I have the right.
This body will no longer be a
instrument of war
but an instrument of peace.
This body will no longer pour
pleasure upon others
But will feel the pleasure that
bubbles up from within me.
This body will not define me,
but instead move me so I can be
defined by the action in my heart.

Paradelle of the Haunted

Mathem

Hindsight

Daydream Legacy

Brio

Sadiki, friend, you
I swear I never knew
Forgive me, my friend

Kelly Dougherty

I am a member of the Warrior Writers Steering Committee and I am Co-Director of IVAW (Iraq Vets Against the War). I served in the Army from 2001-2006, deploying three times. I hold an M.A. in Social Justice and live in Tennessee, where I work for Peace. I have been involved in veteran organizing and healing since 2007. My poems are published in two Warrior Writers anthologies.

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