It’s funny how things come up. Earlier today, I got to talking to a new user by the name of SPCGregoryChris. After doing the typical FAQ thing we got to chatting a bit about our history and back rounds. After reading his home node I noticed we shared something in common.

Well, if you count being a soldier as a common bond then that last statement is true. If you count seeing action as a soldier then he’s got me by miles.

He forwarded me a link to a poem by an author that goes by the name of Andrea Gibson. After reading her work, I felt motivated enough to contact her via the magic of the internet and ask her permission to post it here at E2. Here’s an abbreviated text of our exchange…

Hi Andrea, I just read your poem "For Eli" and was moved to tears. If it's of any consequence, a soldier currently stationed in Iraq brought it to my attention.

I'd like your permission to repost at a website that goes by the name of Everything2.com. Naturally I'd attribute the authorship to you since we're not in the habit of plagiarizing other people's work or posting it without their permission. It's a very powerful and moving piece and I'd like our readership to see your work. I'd certainly understand if you declined for whatever reasons but your piece deserves to be seen by as many eyes as it can.

Thanks for your consideration Peace, Bob Toborg (aka borgo @ Everything2.com )

It took about an hour for her response to hit my gmail account.

Bob..please feel free to post the poem wherever you'd like. thank you so much for spreading the word. peace, andrea

So, here it is. “For Eli” and for SPCGregoryChris and for every other soldier, parent, loved one and concerned person out there, it just goes to show, there are good people amongst us and if we try and reach out to them, chances are, they’ll heed the call.

for eli

Eli came back from Iraq
and tattooed a teddy bear onto the inside of his wrist
above that a medic with an IV bag
above that an angel
but Eli says the teddy bear won't live

and I know I don't know but I say, "I know"
cause Eli's only twenty-four and I've never seen eyes
further away from childhood than his
eyes old with a wisdom
he knows I'd rather not have

Eli's mother traces a teddy bear onto the inside of my arm
and says, "not all casualties come home in body bags"
and I swear
I'd spend the rest of my life writing nothing
but the word light at the end of this tunnel
if I could find the fucking tunnel
I'd write nothing but white flags
somebody pray for the soldiers
somebody pray for what's lost
somebody pray for the mailbox
that holds the official letters
to the mothers,
--------------fathers,
--------------------sisters,

and little brothers
of Micheal 19... Steven 21... John 33
how ironic that their deaths sound like bible verses

the hearse is parked in the halls of the high school
recruiting black, brown and poor
while anti-war activists
outside walter reed army hospital scream

100, 000 slain

as an amputee on the third floor
breathes forget-me-nots onto the window pain

but how can we forget what we never knew

our sky is so perfectly blue it's repulsive
somebody tell me where god lives
cause if god is truth god doesn't live here
our lies have seared the sun too hot to live by
there are ghosts of kids who are still alive
touting M16s with trembling hands
while we dream ourselves stars on Survivor
another missile sets fire to the face in the locket
of a mother who's son needed money for college
and she swears she can feel his photograph burn

how many wars will it take us to learn
that only the dead return
the rest remain forever caught between worlds of

shrapnel shatters body of three year old girl
to
welcome to McDonald’s can I take your order?

the mortar of sanity crumbling
stumbling back home to a home that will never be home again
Eli doesn't know if he can ever write a poem again
one third of the homeless men in this country are veterans
and we have the nerve to Support Our Troops
with pretty yellow ribbons
while giving nothing but dirty looks to their outstretched hands

tell me what land of the free
sets free its eighteen-year-old kids into greedy war zones
hones them like missiles
then returns their bones in the middle of the night
so no one can see
each death swept beneath the carpet and hidden like dirt
each life a promise we never kept

Jeff Lucey came back from Iraq
and hung himself in his parents basement with a garden hose
the night before he died he spent forty five minutes on his fathers lap
rocking like a baby
rocking like daddy, save me

and hold them tight when they get here and don't think for a minute
he too isn't collateral damage
in the mansions of washington they are watching them burn
and hoarding the water
no senators' sons are being sent out to slaughter
no presidents' daughters are licking ashes from their lips
or dreaming up ropes to wrap around their necks
in case they ever make it home alive

our eyes are closed
America
there are souls in
the boots of the soldiers
America
fuck your yellow ribbon
you wanna support our troops
bring them home
and hold them tight when they get here

If you’d like to read more of Andrea Gibson’s work I suggest you drop by http://www.andreagibson.org/. Given her quick response to my request, I’m sure she won’t mind.

One more thing...

mcd says you might wanna mention that this is slam poetry and noders can hear her performing it if they go to her myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/andreagibson

And so I did, to me, it's even more powerful when spoken...

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