Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Every day I see birds lying on the ground dead. One soldier who has been here longer than me said it was the Asian Flu. I don't know. Maybe the polluted air kills them from all the oil wells that got torched earlier on. Maybe the exhaust kills them from all our military vehicles rolling day and night over the roads kicking up as much dust and haze here as the sand storms.

While we pass often the bare feet children run out waving their hands to us in some sort of sad melody of hunger and cheering. We wave back, if we can.

We sit at night in the headlights of our gun trucks, waiting for the word to move out, the smoke of cigarettes caught in it. We think about home, so far away. We try to quit smoking, but its too hard with nothing else to do but to think about home.

Every afternoon when we wake up, that same terrible distance from being at home. Every evening just after dark, the smell of the city burning the day's trash. Every midnight, the thrill of diesel engines in overdrive, all of us rolling out into the dust-hazy middle of war again. We never really see the enemy.

When we return from our convoy, we see more birds lying dead on the ground. The birds lie, dead on the ground. Asian Flu is not the killer.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


One of our translators said he lived in Baghdad for five years and saw three wars there. Desert Storm was the worst. I wondered if there were many civilian casualties during the current war when we were bombing.

He told me, the U.S. learned from their mistakes in Desert Storm how to fight against Saddaim. He would hide himself and use people as a sheild. This time when the explosions began, I did not even run for cover. I pointed my web cam so it could see and hear everything outside my window. I told my family do not worry, it's just the bombing. The U.S. is very careful what they bomb.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

some daily language

The sheer violence, red, bang and ringing.

Inside, our guntruck cab inhales in a gasp
the darkness and chokes on dust.

The things I do not feel: hard interior edges
against my tail bone
and my thumb and my elbow and my shin.The small scrapes later,
the small dark bruises on my shin and knee later,
the stiff soreness of my back
for the next days later describe
everything to me: perhaps the metal anchoring or the small notched nobs
of our radio, with its glowing consul, perhaps the corners
of the custom wooden platform
some gunner before me built himself
to stand on
to see higher
outside the top truck turret, perhaps
the painted green metal latch-closed boxes
we keep our ammunition in. We were turned upside down with these
questions about such specific information.

The things we did not see: the frozen moments of glass splintering out
with the impact of shrapnel, the armored driver's door littered
and punched through by holes, some as big as our fists, the dirt and gravel exploding up and over us like a blanket thrown
to tuck us under for sleep.

The fields on both sides of this road are dark and quiet.
The voices on the receiver suddenly shout fast and confused.

We do not understand a single day afterwards.
We finally understand every day before
was also exactly that way.
Nothing has changed,

except the ringing of a violence. We hear it now.