Oregon National Guard parades through Salt Lake Airport

Oregon National Guard Parades Through Salt Lake Airport

“Wear your civies, a soldier in uniform is a target.”

                                                                   So much for camo.

A little hard when worn jeans are a thousand miles away
collecting dust in the closet next to baseball cards and comic books;
last remnants of the little punk that left eight years ago.
“At least look your best, put on a show for the hoi polloi.”
                                                           Really, don’t give a shit.
This too, is hard. Dust caked knees, oil stained hat.
Sole worn boots that don’t help the limping hip left by
nerve damage from the not-so-improved body armor.
Some Sergeant Major didn’t like all this very much.
“You filthy bastard, how dare you wear the desert here.
                 What kind of soldier are you?”
The dog-tired kind.
The kind that lays guilt where guilt is due,
reminds the safe citizens of their illusions, who
see this ragamuffin band of one and look away,
                                               like an mortified child.
Some stare, standing, daring each other to say “Hi.”
Others clap, say “Thank You” because no one did it for them.
More often though, they hold back until no one is looking.
Free java is the norm from white men in dark suits
wanting to alleviate their own guilt-shame-cowardice.
Don’t say no, even though it truly is the least they could do
                                               if they do anything at all.
They could end it, their suits have the power.
They could stop putting idiots telling tall tales into
burgundy leather thrones. But why risk losing
the commute that pays the mortgage?
                                               Coffee is quicker.
The handshakes are at least worth more. A simple human gesture,
mopping sanguine from palms. Share this contrition
                                              over beer, and perhaps a little more.
Just don’t ask. Those stupid questions aren’t polite.
Curious, foolish, insulting, uncomfortable questions.
Buy another drink though,
                                  won’t say no to that.

By Chris Muravez War Veteran