We’re all going to join the army.
Hanging from the branches
Of bigger dreams
The cumulus smudges across the sky beckon us;
With hyperbolic grins, we announce
It like a party trick
I’m going to join the army
Be like those ones on TV
Those ones with the big guns
Peeled-back grins of the examiners
Revealing jagged pins
The rush of blood to the head.
The summer sun streaming in,
Flinging itself across the polished floor to land
Upon my outstretched hand.
Lives far from this containment
And now I press my ghostly, outstretched fingers on indifferent walls
Whitewashed, you can hear the cold, pulsating heart of death
Working its gleeful way under these floors.
And now a sadomasochistic streak raises its leering head
And tiny box windows look out on concrete grey
To keep our claustrophobia at bay.
(Left, right, left, right)
Robotic precision. Perfection.
I still remember the remnants of glory through the foggy carcass of a mind
Although cataracts have almost made thought blind;
That one endless afternoon on scorched Iraqi soil
When a seventeen-year-old died.
What do you say,
To the choking, blackened blood of guttural screams?
How do you reassure the doomed?
How, at seventeen,
Can you pump agonised minds with fairytales of commendation?
How do you tell her last relation?