Shake N Bake Soldier

by Bilal Berthony

Shake N Bake soldier
Ready but never prepared
19 years old, headed for Asian soil
and too dumb to be scared

Told his enemies were foreign
So he marched against Satan
With armed forces
Wearing rifles and holy crosses
Mother's foresight named him Jude
After the patron saint of lost causes

American Gangster
Eight years in
Killing men, women and children
He knew not why he fought
Long after the physical anguish ended
Mental battles were faced with no support
Hatred aged his young heart

He dreamt of homecoming parades
Looks of admiration and respect
Instead returned to angry mobs
That wanted him to forget,
Pretend it never happened
Move on…get a job

He tried to move on with his life
But wanted to share his story
No one wanted to listen
Like they were ashamed of his sacrifice
So he chose never to speak again
30 years of silence
30 years of inner war
30 years of roaming city streets
and sleeping on cold floors

Awoke to the sounds of familiar lies
Looked up and saw the excitement
Of innocence in the young man's eyes
Heard the web of patriotic bullshit
Spun by the officer in the wrinkle free suit
Standing in front of an open door
Set to disillusion, disadvantaged youth

Heard all the lies before
It was like being transported back in time
He listened to the young man's statement
"I've made up my mind."
He wanted to scream out to the child
Help him reverse the decision
His voice filled the air
With power and desperation

"Cha…Chan..Change…Ya Mind!"

Both men faced him
Unsure of what they heard
The young man inquired,
"What did he say?"
He took a deep breath
Let loose all of his pain


He tried to save a life
From if not physical,
Then certain mental slaughter
The young man walked over to him
And handed the vet a quarter
The old man cried as he watched
A ghost walk off with the officer

Shake N Bake soldier
Ready but never prepared
19 years old, headed to fight for oil
and too dumb to be scared

Shake N Bake Soldier by Bilal Berthony

© Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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