A forum for New Mexico Veterans and their loved ones to express and connect.
This Facebook page is being launched in conjunction with a Veteran music benefit being organized by mim.fm. The event will take place near Memorial Day. The intent of the page is to give voice to the Vet community and to facilitate connection and healing through the sharing of personal expression as well as information about local resources.
Any expression in any media (visual art, photography, videos, music, prose, poetry, spoken word, etc), may be posted as long as the work is not offensive to individuals or groups, and not too disturbing. We understand we are talking about art, and as such this can be a gray area. We will accept a broad spectrum of expression, but reserve the right to remove material that crosses a line, in our judgment.
If there are resources you wish to share for the benefit of the vet community such as healing programs, employment and training opportunities and basic needs resources, please feel free.
Thank you Ian Mentken (organizer) for giving me the opportunity to participate from a far (since I am on poetry sabbatical and engaging in self care/rejuvenation on the event date). Here is the poem he asked me to dedicate to my brothers and sisters who have served. I thank you for your service and this is for you and my Uncle Charles Gause who served in Vietnam (and my father who was a Marine but never did a tour of combat).
As legend would have it… by hakim bellamy
No one really remembers how long he stood there.
How long Black soldiers stood on the shore
of the Chesapeake Bay. How long the heart burst
like bombs. How many stars shy of a pennant.
How many stars short of glory. Approximately 35.
Young. I was 15. The exact age (in stars) of Old Glory
at the time Francis Scott Key penned the song
that made every single person in that ballpark
rise at the same time. For at least one minute
and eighteen seconds, everyone is standing.
Even the millionaires on the green,
Even the billionaires in the boxes, who own
the very seats we stand in front of, out of respect.
But my uncle is a Vet. And though the ramparts in his memory
shock and awe, they will never Berlin.
So his minute, became ten…twenty…thirty…thirty-five…
The first time he flinched, was a foul tip that cracked
Louisville in half like the Ohio River. It sounded like gunshots.
Or fireworks. Or both. And that was the first time
his knees buckled in three innings. People started to worry.
As they often do, when they see young soldiers, off base,
with guns but without fatigues. As they often do,
when they see ex-soldiers on corners, with cardboard
but without fatigues. As they often don’t…
at any other time. Unless it’s sweeps week
and some exec thinks war is good for ratings.
When he finally at-eased, his left peck resembled
a starfish of crumpled shirt. You could see his fingerprints.
Deep, like he was palming his way through a seizure.
Grapefruit in hand. I asked him what our team needed to do,
in order to get out of the 4 to 5 quagmire we created?
Just to see how much of the game he could stand.
And he just said something about Fort M’Henry.
About the 1918 World Series and why he is afraid of that song.
How it sounds like a shelling, every time we sing it.
And why he stood for thirty-five minutes staring at a fuckin’ flag
Just as those that came before him did on the shores of Baltimore
the morning after.
Relieved. Glad it was over. Happy that it was finally quiet enough
for lawyers who moonlight as poets to write poems,
for a band of brothers, a social club of merry men to sing songs.
For us barely caring enough remember the first verse, and forget
the other three. Just like “Lift Every Voice And Sing,”
and call ourselves free.
© Hakim Bellamy March 25, 2014
HEAR ME READING THIS POEM AT MY BANDCAMP: