So, I guess I need to start this post off by thanking the members of my readership that will actually harass me to write. Yes, they know that I write for a living now, and they know that there is a pretty abundant source of material to read out there, but still – they want more.
As a writer, that’s about the highest compliment you can be paid, and I appreciate every nagging email…
So tonight, I’m cranking the loud angry rock music, and writing something from the heart. I know this is kind of a new direction for some of my older readers, but I guess you’ll just have to cope, hehe
So, in my writing, I use the reference of a “warrior” a lot, and that’s what I’m writing tonight. To me, life really is a battlefield, and you have the option of fight or flight every single day. I happen to be one of those that chooses to fight, so the image of the warrior is a common theme. This “poem” is the warrior dealing with the war that can be love. It’s something that hits home with me for a lot of different reasons, and I know a few people I will send this link to directly.
That being said: This is for the warriors:
Even the best-laid plans generally go to shit. Quickly and efficiently. The warrior thinks this, as he darts between the sparsest of cover between angry fire from a dug-in enemy position. Sprinting turns into a stumble as the last round fired in anger finds purchase in his gut. He is spun bodily into the hull of a burned-out car of unrecognizable origin, and he almost hits the ground. Almost. The toe of his left boot drags as his core is suddenly unable to lift his foot from the rough, sand-strewn asphalt. But still, he moves forward. Always forward. Always pressing the fight.
One more foot.
One more yard.
Blood oozes down his hip, and across the outside of his thigh as he presses forward through the fray. His rifle stock finding the sweet spot of his shoulder, and the cheek-weld of his face. He fires back. His rounds sent down range at first with precision and purpose, only to begin to falter and stray. Seeing the impacts from his shots moving further out away from his target, he drops his rifle and it falls away on its sling. His hand instinctively coverers his wound as he makes his last stretch forward. He reaches down and unclips his heavy battle harness. Followed by the unzipping of his armored vest, finally shedding everything that he used to protect himself. The gear falling away in a pile, no longer needed.
Calmly. Stoically. He stands and walks to the middle of the road. His desire for survival is lost in his desire to reach his objective. Bullets pass within inches of death blows as he falls to his knees with a patella cracking impact. A deep gouge in the earth forms from the muzzle of his useless rifle as he succumbs to the pain in his abdomen, and the blood flowing from his body. On hands and knees, he crawls. Pulling himself forward.
“I will survive you”, the warrior whispers, through sand speckled, gritted teeth. “I will survive you”.
An explosion rockets his body into the air and slams his limp form into the earth, showering him with hot debris. In the clearing smoke, the warriors is still…
The warmth of the sun on his face brings him from the brink as he rolls onto his back and stares at the cloudless blue sky. A sky that reminds him of his life’s most precious moments. Sand between toes. Water on skin. A soft hand running across his shoulder without his battle gear there to impede it. He rights himself over to his gut shot belly and hoists himself back to his knees.
With much concentration, he removes his Nomex gloves and abandons their protection to dig his hands into the pile of broken shards in front of him. Digging his hands into them hoping that despite their stinging cuts, he can collect them all. Frantically he digs into the broken pile before him…
In his mind, the collection is useless if it’s missing even the smallest fragment of the whole. He grinds into them with the last ounces of vigor his broken body possesses. Tears streak from the corners of his eyes and cut miniature riverbeds through the grime on his cheeks. Tracing one another to collect on the collar of his combat fatigues, as he turns his red-rimmed eyes from his hands to the salvation in that crystalline sky.
He raises his scavenged prize with cupped and blood-soaked hands.
Against the pain of his wounds, and all adversity… the warrior holds up his heart.
He holds it up as an offering to the world that broke it, to say:
“I Will Survive You…This Time, and Every Time”