In case you missed it, feel free to click the link below to listen to my radio interview on the Heroes of the Heartland Radio program from this morning! Thank you all so much for the continued support for this project! I used to say it meant the world to me, and it does, but now I am starting to see that there is a bigger picture. Thank you for all the phone calls, texts, and emails. Keep them coming!
Today I met you for the very first time,
Many questions need answers,
Seeing you are the victim of your own crime.
We are about the same age, your home similar to mine,
Pictures and favorite things,
you are not a hard person to define.
On the table is camera with an impressive lens,
A camera similar to mine,
Who knows, maybe we could have been friends.
The puzzle piece of your life summed up in a letter left on the floor,
Together our time will be short,
Absorbing your written thoughts, as I slowly close the door.
I am not here to judge you and can only assume,
Your thoughts consumed your soul,
your world, now this dark room.
Your life on paper, like a script from a show,
Every pain, hardship and sorrow,
Left to be found by me, someone you didn’t even know.
To this earth, this life, you are no longer bound,
Placing a small part of your burden on me,
This scene of sadness, in a letter left to be found.
You answer the question why and the how has been done,
The haunting torment ends,
for those who cared, it has only just begun.
Understand when I read this, there is no way for me to feel what you did,
A spirit gone and wasted ,
For me like before, these images hidden, secured with a tight lid.
I was summoned here today certainly not by my choice,
Putting your story in a stranger’s hands,
Trusting that I will now be your voice.
I don’t know your whole life or why you chose this day,
but who cared for you are now my concern,
And I will not let them see you this way.
If you can hear me, know I think you made a mistake,
Your tragedy now mine too,
The details with be softened, simply for your family’s sake.
What is going to happen now isn’t what you think,
The pictures and your story will be re-written,
Like others before and after, the effect will not grow, but shrink.
It is better me do this rather than someone who you knew,
A permanent solution to a temporary problem,
Their hearts broken, my next call waits with something new.
You may think I don’t care, but you committed your own crime,
There have been many before you,
Understand that this certainly is not my first time.
Quietly I speak hoping my words you can hear,
Many have traveled the same path,
Some who do my job, their memories met with my tear.
Make no mistake, with me this day will remain,
But your face and story will be placed with the others,
another link in an unfortunate chain.
In one quick action this life came to a tragic stop,
You took your own life today,
This life, this story, now retold by this stranger, this cop.
Suicide and suicide prevention have such profound effects on those around each tragedy. I have unfortunately had to deal with an unusual number of suicides as a police officer. As my career progressed, these suicides really hit home when my co-workers, my friends, decided that this was also their escape. The true answers and circumstances rarely, if ever, are brought to light.
I recently red an article regarding police officers that have considered either harming themselves or taking their own lives. This is a tough world. This article is eye opening. No longer should we be turning a blind eye to the epidemic of first responders and soldiers regarding the trauma that they face throughout their career. Bravado and toughness come with acceptance and help. Please get help. Please speak with your family and friends.
Also take a look at the article link below. Thank you for reading this difficult poem.
Pray for Our Country
Pray for our beautiful country,
It is what we all have together,
One nation united under God.
Whether you believe or not, what does it hurt? Our country, our name is supposed to unite all. Do we always get along? No. Do we always agree? No. Will we ever get along and agree? No. What we can do is disagree, respectfully, and still be one nation. It makes us stronger and better every day.
If you pray, pray for this country as a whole. If you don’t pray, see the previous sentence. If you choose not to, understand your choice is accepted because of the very country of which you live.
The freedom to respectfully express oneself and opinions is something of which we have, and continue to, pay a dear price. Be responsible with these freedoms. Be respectful to your fellow countrymen and countrywomen.
Thank you to my beautiful wife for taking a picture of these less than perfect hands.
In the coldest of winter,
The song of the bird is silenced,
yet the nest remains waiting.
Haiku poems are powerful, so little word, so much meaning. Traditionally dealing with nature, three lines, five words, then seven, then five more. Challenging but really but right to the point. Just the way I like it!
I took this photo in Arizona while visiting my parents. This little fella was high in an entry way. I could stretch my arms no further, but I think it turned out just fine.
I never intended on writing this poem. It is pretty sensitive in nature, but I feel it is necessary. I guess I will just let it speak for itself. There are many who will understand, probably more that will not. I am hoping you do. I also hope you like it.
The picture was my rig. I wanted a photo with me in it so bad. When the opportunity arose, another soldier snapped the picture. I didn’t realize it would be a silhouette. I was really disappointed. Looking at it today, I don’t think it could have turned out any more perfect.
This is for my brothers and sisters that had to deal, and still do, with situations similar to this. Thank you for your service.
Thank you for taking a look at “The Calmness of a Warrior”. It means the world to me.
The Calmness of a Warrior
Answering the call, giving it little thought,
Honor your country are the values he was taught.
His blood pump red, skin white, and mind blue,
Like generations before, this is what he was made to do.
From a child when he would hold his father’s hand,
Now patrolling a dangerous road, surrounded by hot sand.
Committed to freedom, honorably serving with others,
This, now his family, both sisters and brothers.
Each day, each mission on paper often look the same,
Moving out in the morning, before the sun becomes hot as a flame.
Was it a flash of lighting followed by deafening thunder,
Or something more sinister, making him wonder.
This day, this moment, there was a different feeling he did not share,
Time stopped for just a moment, as he was flown into the air.
His mind took him to church, where he was taught to do no harm,
And early Sunday dinners on his grandparents farm.
He thought of high school and wondered what his friends would say,
Making jokes and asking him, did you kill anyone today?
He thought of his dog, no matter what stood by his side,
If he were here, would have been next to him, begging for a ride.
Remembering homecoming and every high school dance,
Asking out all the girls when he knew he didn’t have a chance.
He thought, then forgot, eyes jarred open as he met the ground,
Metal torn from his vehicle was scattered all around.
He could see but not feel, move or hear,
Next to him lay his torn bandolier.
What he saw ,he knew, but did trust to believe,
The destruction before him was his vehicle hit by an I.E.D.
His body now slowly moved, but still could not stand,
Reaching for his leg and putting his pistol in his hand.
If you come for me to see if I am dead,
I will take this pistol and put a bullet in your head.
Confusion turned to rage, and fear for the others,
What drove him now was to check on is brothers.
From a gash in his forehead where his red blood bled,
Calling to his friends, not sure if out loud or in his head.
Every bit of energy crawling to once was their car,
It felt like miles, but he didn’t move far.
Where are you all, I need to know if you are hurt,
Hot blood dripped slowly onto his tan shirt.
None of this made sense, they drove a Humvee not a car,
And the roads here are made of sand, not concrete and tar.
A firm hand grabbed his shoulder and spun him around,
Pistol in hand, leveled his sights and drew down.
We are going to be late if you don’t wake up soon,
Wide open eyes, realizing he is in his own room.
Before him stood a smiling wife,
Another dream, a nightmare, of a past life.
So many years had passed between now and then,
But the years were like minutes, reliving it all again.
This woman, she cared for him, walking together a path to heal,
Uncontrollable horrors persist but together, learning how to deal.
Those days had made him something he was not,
The simple details of life were often forgot.
Once trusting others that they would have his back,
Was erased over time and bright days had turned black.
This woman, she also saw and felt the change,
Receiving the most fire from being directly down range.
Admiring her patience and trying to understand her love,
Explaining that so many visions, down deep he would shove.
She said I know, I am a volunteer too,
Remember the promise made when I chose to marry you.
I want you back, we will do it together,
These memories will always be there, but we can make it better.
Always on edge, instincts sharper than ever,
Feelings that can switch like a quick shift of a lever.
The flashing pictures and memories now being organized in his mind,
Always a soldier, now husband and father, learning again to be patient and kind.
Searching for peace, these dark memories have become inferior,
Stronger than ever, now the calmness of this warrior.
Out the Door
The dispatch phone rang when you called for help today,
You needed us there, but didn’t have much to say.
You called because you knew it was time,
The journey up a difficult ladder you have started to climb.
You had enough, and called for the help of a stranger,
To protect yourself from anymore danger.
We have never met, but many times I have seen the same pain,
Your tears run down that blackened eye like tiny drops of rain.
You have tried to leave before, but were promised it would never happen again,
Praying to God that it would be true, with a sincere amen.
I have a lot of questions that will be hard for you to answer,
About the hell you have been living, growing like cancer.
I received this call from others so many times before,
So many like you praying to walk out that door.
I am listening to every single word that you say,
Hoping that this will be your liberating day.
I want you to know that what happened fills me with rage,
That I can not show, keeping it in my cage.
Please understand there is much more I wish I could do,
I will not say this, because it will not help you.
I promise I will place my piece perfectly in this chain,
I wish, but cannot, take away your pain.
Be strong, be wise, and leave, you have committed no sin,
The room becomes silent, I could hear the drop of a pin.
I could see that your lifetime was running through your head,
Taking in our words, and thinking of what had been said.
Thank you for listening, can I give you a ride,
That is when I saw something in you stir inside.
Your eyes meet mine, as you pick your bag from the floor,
Turning with a smile, as you finally walked out the door.
As a former patrol officer, domestic violence was all too common. The victims extended to children. Every now and then there was a victory in that darkness. I am not an expert on this topic, and my only wish is that I had a magic wand to erase these terrible situations, but I do not, but I have a keyboard and a blog.
This is what drove this poem. Thank you for taking a look.
Hot brown days, counting each as they go by,
Staring into a dry nothing, remembering times gone by.
Lost in a million thoughts, like vagabonds through my head they roam,
One-step forward, is another step towards home.
I cannot explain what happened, or how it got inside,
Pushed deep in my soul, but it came out no matter how hard I tried.
Time just could not erase the things I have seen,
Hiding from everything became such a routine.
I now walk among you, but will not know my name,
Nothing happens on my watch, if so; I am the one to blame.
Watching waistbands and hands, vigilance ever so high,
Measuring every risk, willing to sacrifice, or even die.
My memories are postcards scattered by a fan in my brain,
Pictures of happiness, and sorrow, others bring pain.
Images flash by, some more than others,
Each as important as the next, often of my sisters and brothers.
A carousel of memories that have no absolute order,
Fracturing my sense of peace like an exploding mortar.
My solid ground disappeared; I had nowhere left to stand,
From the light, there became darkness in the hot desert sand.
I needed a guide, hero, someone to show me the way,
God only knows the hell she would have to pay.
She became a foundation, my clarity, my life,
I am here today because of forgiveness, and the patience of my wife.
She grabbed my hand when I started sink,
Counted my scars, and filled them with ink.
Standing tall for family, nephews and nieces,
One at a time, picking up my life’s shattered pieces.
I know now that before the day I die,
Into the broken window frame of my life, a thousand shards of glass will fly.
I wrote this poem not to long ago. It will be ready publicly at a college for a local event. Please feel free to give it a read. Thanks for taking a look!