*Bouhammer Note- It has been a very busy last 10 days since NY National Guard lost the first three of the five soldiers that she lost recently. I did not get a chance to conduct a virtual interview, but in its place I am posting this rant that I received from Mike T over the weekend. I talked with Mike TÂ on the phone twice over the last few days as he was home on leave. He sent this to me and I asked him if I could put it in a poem format as I felt it would flow well that way and he agreed. Since Mike T had to leave the USA today to head back to Afghanistan in order to finish his tour, I figured it would be a good day to post this entry from him. Even though it started as a rant, I feel it is really a poem in hiding.*
So we sit, in the middle of NJ, I listen to everything that happens around me.
I have Dead Kennedys and One Republic, Cicero.
I have something in my life.
Thereâ€™s something in combat that you lose.
You look at the flowers, the literature. You look at your life.
There are things that you see that no one else can find.
You grow old, you grow tired. You find happiness. You call in an air strike.
You watch as somebody grows upon you. You just wanted her to know how you felt.
Youâ€™re tired of feeling like some used up bag of war. I am ready to stop and come home.
I get tired of telling her that sheâ€™s nothing but beautiful.
But youâ€™re old, youâ€™re tired, youâ€™re beat up.
Yet you donâ€™t remember what it was like not to drink a bottle of vodka and make excuses for your country.
You sit there and just say Iâ€™m sorry. How do you sit there and say I drank too much and believed too much? Because thatâ€™s what I did.
How do you sit there and say this shouldnâ€™t have happened, but I did them? Part of my life that I canâ€™t explain.
Thatâ€™s what youâ€™ve got. Iâ€™m sorry I blew up this village or shot down these people. It is what it is, right?
You come home on a c-130 to nothing.
To you, to this imaginary life. To a woman who loves me to no end.
I have music and I have art.
Everything stops when I get off that aircraft. And here I am, still missing everything. Itâ€™s never fair though.
Itâ€™s not fair to say what we want to say and do what we want to do because it just never is.
Last night I got to hang out with good friends, and tonight here I am, ready to argue again. If I have to do this, then theyâ€™re the ones missing out.
Sometimes I wonder if I gave up everything. Iâ€™m so pissed off. Find war is such a simple matter.
Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™s that anymore. But what about my beach? My Ocean Grove? Having wine with my future wife?
What about the things that I care about?
What about the things that I gave up?
What happened to the things that I cared about?
What about the drafting table, Osaka, piancones?
Where is my rose that I left so long ago?
I sit here and sometimes wonder those things because I have a house and I have a family.
I have shot and killed, and the worst part is that my family thinks Iâ€™m a drunk. They think Iâ€™m a failure.
Sometimes I think if my new family thinks that too?
What do you do? How do you suffer? Iâ€™ve seen life. Iâ€™ve tasted art. Will we find our own way? I just donâ€™t know how to do it anymore.
So I write this, I sit here on my living room floor, my future wife typing as my German Shepherd sits with us.
But I canâ€™t explain shit. Here I am, tired, worn down, beaten down. But I love my country. I love my ocean.
How do you explain what you have given up for 11 years?
How do you explain what youâ€™ve given up for everyone else for 11 years.
I miss the times, I miss the art. I miss the humming in my life.
Iâ€™m tired of people shooting at me. Thatâ€™s what it is.
I get to sit on my floor, drinking a beer.
Iâ€™ve got 48 hours left until I go back and Iâ€™ve got no excuses.
But I have rosemary wine, I have salty wind.
These are the things that people dream of. I have books that people imagine having.
And I have a fiancÃ©e that no matter what, I will jump out of a helicopter for, I will do anything for her because I canâ€™t do anything about the war. So its back to war then back to my real job.