November 22, 2016

"The 22nd."

A boy leaves home, becomes a man.
Stands tall, does proudly what he can.
Serves to defend a greater plan.
But knows nothing of himself.

Days, then weeks, and months again,
Fighting in the desert sand.
Sees things his friends can't understand.
But can't think about himself.

His mind is out beyond the wire.
Thoughts of those caught in the fire.
The innocents in funeral pyres.
Taking pieces of himself.

Then finally, "you're going home,"
A place that he no longer knows.
Cannot tell a friend from foes.
No longer knows himself.

Long days become longer nights,
Eyes closed but still engaged in fights,
Shadows that don't fade with lights,
A stranger to himself.

That's when the voices come to call.
"Fuck this pain, just end it all."
A hero now becomes so small
He cannot see himself.

A bottle, a gun, a quiet descent,
Hopeless, broken, fully spent.
Too numb to fight, to cry, to vent,
An ending for himself.

How many more will we watch go?
Or worse, backs turned, not even know?
Heroes once, now broken souls,
Nothing left of themselves?

Enough has got to be enough.
The toughest can't always be tough.
And finding words might be rough,
But we owe it to ourselves.

Because we need each one of them.
We need them whole and home again.
So let today be the day when
We truly offer help.

There's so much that we each can do.
Reach out and offer a piece of you.
To one, or two, perhaps a few.
Give them part of yourself.

They may recoil, they may resist.
But steady on, you watch their six.
There is no quick or easy fix,
But trust they'll find themselves.

And when they do, and they stand tall,
When thankful that you heard their call.
When words won't come to them at all,
Know that you've saved yourself.