Their faces float across the screen
my eyes bouncing from left to right
as the names are being read aloud.
I’m sitting on the floor,
and usually when I’m watching TV
I slouch, I lay back,
but not this time.
For this forty minute broadcast
of the names and faces
of the fallen soldiers
who fought our latest war
I am compelled by gratitude,
frustration, and sorrow
to sit straight up,
stark and still
as the soldiers who stand at attention
and salute when the commander-in-chief walks by.
My body’s not used to it.
In fact, it prefers it’s late night slouch
but now is not the time for slouching.
Now is the time for sitting up straight
and paying attention to the roll call.
I sit cross-legged on the floor
and focus on their eyes as I listen.
Tom, Lori, Brian, Jose, Michael, Christine, Ahmed, Loretta, Frank, Joseph, Armando.
I search their faces for what I can see
watching big smiles in ceremonial dress and camouflage.
I try to imagine them at their best
Mostly it works, but a few bloody poses
sneak into my head and I push my back
a little straighter.
When the names are done,
and all the faces gone by
I stand and salute.
I am a civilian, and I do it anyway.
Not for show or silly ritual,
but to say thanks
for putting the uniform on.
So others might not have to.
© 2004 Garland Lee Thompson Jr.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Holy crap Batman! More than a week has gone by since the last post! Man, does time fly! Where does it go? For that matter where does it come from? Is it a straight line or some twisted mass like a bad large intestine on the Oprah show? Does it intersect reality in some way we can measure? Can we travel through it? These and other questions are being looked at by Quantum Mechanics everywhere, and some really believe we'll figure it out one day. As for me, it's the SPEED of Time that gets under my skin. Sometimes it's unbearably slow, inching along like molasses down the side of a jar. Sometimes it's unbearably fast and a moment is over before you've barely realized it's there, and you're in it. You know what I mean. Time flies when you're having fun, and all that. There was nothing to do, and the time just dragged on. Perception is a large part of it, and you can see it in these 2 axioms. Having fun, and having nothing to do (thus having NO fun) are essentially the same thing. Two states of being that affect our perception of time. Change these states, and you change your perception. The two are intrinsically linked. Then there are all the times we're on autopilot. Another way of dealing with our perception of time. As well as with everyday life, routine, and maybe mundane, things that need to be done but don't exactly tickle our short hairs. In essence, time marches on , and we find ourselves right in the middle of it. Like standing in the center of a stream or river, a little piece of us washed away every minute we stand in it. It's moving fast, moving slow. What's come to be known as ebb and flow. Breath it in, breath it out, expand and contract. With all the currents of time of time flowing around and past us. Picking us up and taking us for a ride, even as it takes us a little at a time. The ride is sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy, but a ride nonetheless. If you're lucky enough to have seatbelts, you better buckle up. It's bound to be the ride of your life! Meanwhile, simultaneously, every day we trudge to the factory floor or the big box store, the office cubicle or the 7-11 parking lot, chanting 'If you got the dime, then I got the time. If you got the dime, I got the time.' The same line that every man, woman and child will say many times in their lives. It's the chant that dictates lives, and whole cultures even. A simple line taught to children as a nursery rhyme they whisper to their own children generation after generation. With worldwide consequence. Time and civilization march on, yet it always seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same. If you got the dime, I got the time. I got the time if you got the dime. A chant of Man since the beginning of time. Or at least recorded history. Who knows what life was like before? I wonder, can anybody tell me what life was like before?