What's left after Afghanistan

I am what's left after
Seven incarcerations
Three attempts on my life
Seeing my country's armed forces kill thousands wholesale
In an effort to kill thirty invisible insurgents.
In a period of six months.
Daisy Cutters, second most powerful non-nuclear bomb In our vast arsenal of random death.
Vaporizing insignificants.

Infighting in my own news crew.
No weapon save our wits and our worse-than-nothing PRESS velcros and documents.
We ripped them off the bulletproof vests the first day there.
We kept the bulletproof vests. And the riot helmets.

"No, Geraldo, it was not a good idea to whip out a gun on TV.
You put us all in even graver danger."
Graves are where more of us than soldiers ended up in those terrible first months.

I thought I'd seen it all, how naive.
Sieg Heil Bush.
Your criminal buddies, we all know you are too stupid
To give birth to this nightmare on your own.
They have murdered tens of thousands, some in body, some in mind.
But you did wink tacit approval, and that makes you guilty too.

I understand the baby boom now. I fulfilled the human response
So simple this concept.
I proposed to a girlfriend over s sattelite phone after rising crime made me a victim back home
My studio, the culmination of years plotting
Was raided and emptied.
I was broke, alone, and was surrounded by death.
It was all over.

I married fifteen days after my homecoming.
Three years later, I have two gorgeous daughters.
I am in love, my wife in hate.
She doesn't understand me, I'm not the man she married
I covered nicely for a while,
She says, she is correct. I am so much older.

I can't tell her that this was no ordinary assignment.
There have been ten yers of other scares.
FARC had me for three days once, until Freedom.
There was no outright butchery.
Death was

A personal thing. Each had meaning, cause, twisted sense.
It was not the breathhold being held in a dogpen
Four feet in height was.
Nor the confiscating of our ID's in a country
In which was a felony to travel without.

It was the disillusionment of seeing with my own eyes
My government slaughter thousands of innocents.
Women and children.
Not Taliban.
People.

Very young people and their mommies.

Months pass, the stench never abated.

I refused To sign yet another extension. Maza el-Sharif
to Tajikistan
to Tashkent
To Istanbul
To New York
To Miami
To Home.
Build a new life, a new family
Commemorate the families my countrymen slew.

They were innocents, like your children
And my own.
Would someone come for them next?

And why won't the tape end up on the shelf
With the outtakes and used materials.
The story was told, as much as the White House would let us
Why is my brain replaying a DMC edit that has no end?

And now my wife is leaving me, again.
Yes again.
I am losing my girls.
I will be alone, my daughters now reduced to a monthly payment
To the Florida Child Something Fund.

She wrote the name in the paperwork
But I have a knack for forgetting inconvenient things.
It's a shame I can't forget the haunting as easily.

One college degree, ten years in journalism,
One human spirit
Lost to a Daisy Cutter.

This time, my friends from
Other networks weren't making it to our
Customary reunions at such-and-such.
CNN is paying, no Fox today.
Who cares,
John was shot in the mountains three days ago.
How many does that make?

I'm not a soldier, I just take pictures.
I was a target, where before I was accepted.
I am an old man, with stories I can't tell
To confess for allowing the truth to be trampled
Just to weakly try to purify my soul.

Anyone want to buy a broadcast-quality camera?
I am done taking pictures.
There is no more I want to record.
I think the King of Burgers is looking for fry guys.

Ralph

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