Laced up boots and buckled belt
unready for the day.
Yesterday said ‘this time tomorrow’
but there was nothing real to say.
Events unfold and darkness calls,
and lights flash
and the journey
and what’s at the end
and how it got there
and who called
and there’s always an attack

because Kevlar protects not the mind,
nor do weapons defend
from the image of the dying man,
the despair of the friend
who watched him bleed
and watched him die
Ticking. Pumping. Beeping.
The cries replay
for a while
every single day.

But don’t take a beat to go and eat
or to try and comprehend
the tragedies just witnessed,
for with uniform comes judgement
and comments of how they pay
and how could you think it would be okay
to have food and water?
The same different
every day.

But the choice is made
every day
to stay and stand,
for reasons unbeknown,
up to others,
up for others,
with others
to provide support
to others.


“They’re nice to me really,” the same lie every day
to those who notice, or care to question.
But dragged through time by the grip of a hand
that will only let go to grab the crop
and those around face what they perceive
as abandonment from a companion, when in need,
because the real truth is too hard to face
so the bruises, the silence, the poorly cloaked flinch
are merely a choice, from a circle to one.

Months, years, decades go by,
locked in a room with no door to even try
to break out and run, and even if so,
the darkness would follow, wherever to go.
Then something changes, usually when
someone steps in, an unexpected
Descriptions rewind and the time in the room
is re-lived in words spoken true
to a stranger’s badge.

Torment takes over in a downward spiral
as thoughts change their tune and personal views
of who is to blame for a perpetrator’s choice
are brutally swirled, into a
dough before kneading.

Time crawls by with
no regard for the storms that don’t pass
and the feelings of the time they last
spoke or touched, with a tongue of fire
and hands ablaze, leaving souvenirs
of the third degree.

The driftwood of justice swims further away,
the message in a bottle also on its way
out of reach as years press on
and memories half healed become harder to re-run.
Waves become rough, and whispered in the
crash of the foam rising high
“boys will be boys”, and that is why
the chances of catching the singular piece
of driftwood at sea
becomes second to none, “leave it be,”

they say,
from their priority seats
but the advice is useless,
like a graft
using damaged skin
it can’t be fixed
though denial
or a healthy meal
and the final decision
that lays out of hand.
Questions of why
and when,
and for what did you allow this never to end.

With answers so complex, and no reason why
because in hindsight leaving with head held high
would have been the solution when the skies
turned grey, before the downpour and thunder
and strike of light
but the promise of an umbrella
not seen as a conductor
from that generous topi