07 April 2011

M16

They gave me a rifle,
Showed me how to take it apart,
Told me a name for each piece.

It was strange at first
Like disassembling death.
What would happen
If I didn’t put him back together?

I wondered  if my rifle pieces
Had claimed any bodies
In a past, jumbled incarnation.

When they had taught me
Enough about the rifle
They put me on a bus.
They brought me to the range,
Gave me a live magazine.
A hundred of us
Like camouflaged  cattle
Smiling at our weapons,
Waiting for our next command.

I didn’t come here to kill a man,
I thought.
So why am I here?
To learn how to kill a man,
Of course.

They made me keep shooting
Until
I placed a nice, close group of
Tiny lead missiles
Right through the man-shaped
Target’s paper heart.
They taught me how to kill a man.

Well,
They taught me how to
Adjust the rear sight,
Take aim,
Lie still,
Hold my breath,
And squeeze.

 But I don’t know how to kill a man.

I wonder
How many fighting boys
Never thought they would
Take aim,
Lie still,

And breathlessly squeeze
Three steel-tipped, lead-bodied bullets
Into the meat of a man’s chest,
In a nice, close group.

M16 Line up
Image from Mini D
Day 7 of NaPoWriMon. This will be my first entry ever for the Thursday Poet's Rally.

16 comments:

  1. What a powerful poem. So very sad because it is so real.

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  2. This is haunting and emotive. The simplicity of the paper heart and the structure are a facade to the powerful and poignant deeper meaning of your words.

    Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. eloquent..

    well done.
    thanks for coming to poets rally.

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  4. Wow... I was honestly shaking while reading this. It is so moving and so strong. You should be very proud of this. It is an outstanding piece of writing. Well done!

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  5. This is moving. I can feel some bittersweet emotions between the lines... Makes the heart beat faster. Excellent work!

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  6. Magdelena,
    Makes the heart beat faster" is one of the best compliments I've ever gotten. Thanks

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  7. Thank you all for your positive feedback. I really liked writing this.

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  8. This is a great piece! The image you included is striking (pardon the pun) as well. The whole thing gave me shivers. And welcome to the Rally!

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  9. A compelling read. And brings out strong emotions in the reader.

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  10. Lola-Thanks again. I'm glad you keep deciding to read my stuff!


    Indi-Thanks for your positive support!

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  11. invite you to share 1 to 3 poems to Jingle Poetry potluck now.

    first time participants can use old poems or poems unrelated to the theme.

    free style commenting,

    hope to see you share.



    xxx

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  12. This is a gut-wrenching poem, M.A.S. I think you may have expressed the thoughts of many young men/women who really were NOT prepared to be trained to kill. Of the three poems of yours I have read this morning, this is my favorite. I will continue to visit your blog.

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  13. I don't think I'd be able to hold a gun, let alone shoot at a target in a close group. Powerful poetry here, and I don't mean gun-wise :)

    Rally Week 41 - My Poetry

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  14. Thanks, Vinay.
    Holding the gun was easy. Actually putting a tight group on the target took a long time! I'm not quite a marksman.

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  15. Hi

    I came over over from Poet's Rally.

    this is an awesome poem. i like it. i was taught to take apart an M16 too, and go for the zeroing and all that stuff. fortunately, i have left the army and need not make that kind of decision anymore.

    thanks for sharing. :)

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  16. Thanks, Snake. I'm glad you could make a connection. Hopefully, you only ever had to shoot at targets like me.

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