Health

Jason Arment

 

In country, SOP was ignore everything.

How the radio jammers hundreds of hertz

split the heads of Marines

with a throbbing ache

 

or the way dust storms

caused sickness so severe

the Corps airlifted patients

to Sweden's neutrality

 

Now

veterans line the streets

& methadone clinics

seemingly invisible to the public

 

Back home,

even if we'd

have it otherwise

—ignore everything.

 

Every Marine a Rifleman

Jason Arment

 

A well aimed shot

is worth ten

wild ones,

not so with people

 

Although bullets

& people

are sometimes similar

& made for each other

 

People can disobey

follow their own way,

a bullet is nothing more

than an empty vessel

 

Jarhead is a telling euphemism

along with dum-dum round

misfire, hangfire,

& blanks

 

Jarheads are bullet-catchers

as well as gunslingers,

a moth to flame Mobius strip

that hasn't stopped since 1775

 

Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, War-guided

Jason Arment

 

Civilians don't know anything

about missiles, so no surprise

when ISIS started using TOWs

no one cared

 

An Egyptian destroyer

trolling the Red Sea

broadsided by a

small sun

 

Made me think of when

I swam in the same waters

with the Israeli Defense Force

where Eilat meets the waves

 

the memory made remote

by the video of

rocket flare

& blinding impact

 

When I was in Iraq

the only people with TOWs

were: the U.S. &

allied forces

 

Now

the situation has changed

from RPGs to TOW missiles,

& ISIS on the rise.

 
 

Marine Blues

Jason Arment

The blues

if it were darker

but not bruise black

more like blood on the asphalt

 

& not the musicians

playing their hearts

out every night

more fevered dream, fetid sweat

 

The feeling

when all is lost

& not just for a second,

but forever

 

The crumbling

of rotted wood

underfoot

or callow hearts

 

Like coming down

off a drug, or

laying out a gun

& writing a note

 

Mostly the last one

but a little of all of them

because my blues, brother

will drag you from sunlight

 

The Absence of Dreams

Jason Arment

I miss dreaming

until I skip the meds

& wake up

sweat soaked screaming

 

In one night-terror

I'll never forget

the squad & I reunited

to patrol stateside streets

 

We ran into a kid

I used to teach math

at an inner-city

middle school

 

I maced & beat the 6th grader,

not out of malice, but compulsion.

No idea if

he survived

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