I don’t write poetry. I suppose I used to be able to say that. Can’t say it anymore though, because there’s this.
I went on a cruise a and met some cool people. One of them was a veteran like me. He was a full steam ahead veteran versus my more laid back and “I could care less about being a veteran” style. This guy had cargo pants bloused neatly into combat boots, t-shirts with guns and hooah sayings on them and a nice neat haircut. He may have gotten out of the Army, but he didn’t leave it far behind. This man was the walking-talking bumper sticker of post-service, and also very kind. He noticed my tattoos and started a conversation and immediately questioned about my service.
Through the conversation, he invited me to the veterans appreciation event. I, of course, told him I would go and had absolutely NO intention of following through. I was being nice and avoiding conflict. Then, about fifteen minutes before it started, I was walking down to my cabin to join my wife and son for a nap. This very enthusiastic veteran bumped into me and asked me if I was headed to the military appreciation event. Not wanting to look like the liar I intended to be, I went.
I met some wonderful people and heard stories of survival, strength and heroism. The world is often full of people that are better than I ever expect them to be. Listening to them moved me, motivated me. I felt I should share something.
I shared the ‘ahem’ poem Septic.
After reading it, every veteran in the room lined up to give me a hug. A bunch asked for copies of it. Then, over the next two days people offered to pay for my drinks everywhere I went. It was the first time I could see how what I wrote would affect others.
Here is a reading of the poem below.