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NO CRITIQUE REQUIRED: MY POEM! > The Old Soldier

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message 1: by Jon(athan) (new)

Jon(athan) Nakapalau | 751 comments “Hey brother, got any change?”

Holding a cardboard sign:

VIETNAM VETERAN

ANYTHING WILL HELP

GOD BLESS YOU

He reminds me of a painting by Otto Dix… Prager Straße…

He sits with his back to the wall of a restaurant that he will never be allowed to enter (but that could feed him well on what is thrown away every night).

He scans the sea of moving faces that ebb by him…trying to catch their eyes with his eyes…a net of humanity cast out…catching nothing.

A stained paper coffee cup filled with change will help him to strategize what course of action to take; what tactic he can use against his many enemies.

Here, on the streets of San Francisco, his enemies have changed;

Hunger, cold, loneliness…

I wonder…

If he could meet himself now, as a young man, would he still have gone to fight?

Or would the young man that he was learn from the old man that he is?

Learn…

That youth spent fighting for ideals often is forgotten when age asks for services rendered?

That war is often unkind to those who survive - spirit like - in a world where the dead are more alive in memory than the living?

That the clarion call to serve often deafens those who sound it to those who answer it - when they cry out for help?

“Hey brother, got any change?”

Is youth bought so cheaply…in all the high rise office buildings…all the coffee that is wasted everyday…could some of it fill his cup on this cold winter night?

A trash can next to him is overflowing with half eaten food and unfinished lattes...every day...is this the day he will go to it and -

But perhaps these questions are too abstract…

Perhaps the very fact that these questions are asked seeks a deeper answer…

Perhaps Pericles has the answer...

"..if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.”

But what does a man do when - after service to the state - the state places him in the obscure condition of indifference?

Then comes the funeral oration of the state; eulogized in chorus by the brotherhood of those who answered the call to serve - that sacrificed their youth on the alter of summer promises - burnt as offerings...in a long abandoned temple...

built to unfaithful gods.


message 2: by Lilanthi (new)

Lilanthi | 73 comments So sad…and yet so true…Very well written!


message 3: by Meagan (new)

Meagan A powerful statement


message 4: by Jon(athan) (new)

Jon(athan) Nakapalau | 751 comments Thank you both so much!


message 5: by Amit (new)

Amit Singh (amitsinghproductions) | 48 comments A truly captivating commentary on a major societal issue in the form of a brilliantly written, poignant poem.


message 6: by Jon(athan) (new)

Jon(athan) Nakapalau | 751 comments Thank you Amit!


message 7: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 27 comments Haunting.


message 8: by Jon(athan) (new)

Jon(athan) Nakapalau | 751 comments Thank you Rhonda.


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