Thursday, January 25, 2007


After two weeks in Long Beach, I have returned to behind barbed wire and to the midst of mortars exploding somewhere off a ways in the middle of the night.

Every few nights: the mortars, and fifteen minutes later my platoon sergeant comes bursting in the door breathless calling out the names of myself and my roommates and then, after getting our sleepy acknowledgements that we are not out and dead from the mortar blast, he runs out to the next room for the rest of accountability.

I do not envy his job.

There are signs here of continued escalation of violence. Nothing that the newspaper censuses haven't already indicated. Only it sinks in more when the phone lines and internet connections are blocked. We call it blackout: every time someone is killed and the next of kin have to be notified before the media greets them with the fact in the morning paper.

IEDs keep getting bigger. Consistently killing those they hit now, it seems. Some of them anyway.

I do not know how I was saved myself. It doesn't look like I'll be going on convoys anymore and this is the country where nothing is simple and everything is divided: I felt scared of going outside the wire again, so, now I feel relief. But there's also the sadness that it has to be someone else out there and even regret that it can't still be me. Nothing is fair here.

I read a great article by a journalist from Time Magazine. It's from an August issue, but the perspective he gives of the situation over here is still pertinent as far as I can tell. There are no easy solutions or answers.

How unfair it is that I will spend a year here, and of that mostly live on a protected base. Iraqis will live here after I've left and will bear the brunt of whatever fallout occurs in the wake of our withdrawal. It's scary to think about.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

a disagreeing blog

His opinions disagree with mine, but he has some reasons for it on his blog. And he does good researching/linking.

Also the New Yorker hasn't posted a poem they just published in their most recent publication. It was the search for the poem that led me to this guy's leftist blog where he has the poem posted. "Bagram, Afhganistan 2002" by Marvin Bell. A January 9th post.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

some daily language

I was not timid
to look through the glass pane

to this other cold crisp air side.
It is very cold and blue in Kuwait.

So many of us hope in the cold wind
that wips our cheeks red for a year
that nothing may pass in
with us but our own vision:

not the long dullness,
not an uncertain voice again,
not the faltering instead
of just

loving. It always seems
like it was supposed to be simple.