Sunday, June 2, 2013

Baghdad Nights

Baghdad nights
It was a long-assed day.
We had dinner at the DFAC
and returned to the office.
Finally knocked off around 9pm.
The mandatory protective vest
weighs heavy on my
already tired shoulders –
while the strap connecting the two sides
cuts into my waist as I try to balance
their weight on my
already tired hips -
I lumber on to my
tin-foil hootch
in Embassy Estates on the
the Republican Palace grounds…
It is late.  I shower and
turn on Fox News,
the only station that works.
“In California today, Senator Clinton
said President Johnson
was more important
than Dr. King
to getting the Civil Rights Bill
passed.”  Aw shyt. 
White House better stay white.
I fall asleep reading “Certain to Win,”
one of those Army War College texts
from the Strategic Studies program
I am falling further and further behind in
with each passing Baghdad day.
2am.  The witching hour.
Time for target practice.
I'm awakened by the sound
of the Duck and Cover alarm.
The concrete reinforced shelter is 100 meters
away from my tin-foil hootch –
100 meters as the crow flies…
Nope.  I’ll sit this one out – and pray –
Bong!  Bong!  Bong!  Bong! The alarm
sounds.  I hear people stumbling,
some drunkenly staggering –
to the safety of the shelter.
I shelter in place and
start my usual prayer
(I skip a lot of drills –
and pray a lot - 
these days):
“The Lord is my Shepherd,
I shall not want.
He maketh me ….”
A mortar round flies over
the tin foil roof
of my tin foil hootch –
“....lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me
beside the Still Waters….–“
The round hits the nearby ground.
Maybe it is another dud.
I continue my prayer:
“….He restoreth my soul ---“
It was not a dud.
But I pinch myself and
I am not dead.
I finish my prayer:
“And I will dwell
in the House of the Lord,
Back to sleep.
There is still more night.
And tomorrow
is another Baghdad day.


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