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at the VLW

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at the VLW

Sarah, her two kids in tow
walks in a second-hand shop
for only a second, since she turned
her pocket inside-out yesterday
for a large box of rice crispies
and a half-gallon of 2% milk.
Her old man stopped beating 
her three months ago, 'cause 
Social Services was on him but
she ain't seen him or any of 
his paycheck in about nine weeks
She heard he'd gone to Idaho.
Their daughter, Rachel's been
skippin' school with other kids - 
Sarah knows, but doesn't say anything

Jason's hanging near the dumpster out back,
his kinda short-lease home since he got 
let outta prison for a possession charge 
that he definitely was guilty of, but 
he's been clean for three weeks now - almost

Raul's been running the dishwasher and 
cleaning up in the bathroom at the fast-fried 
chicken place, for three years now 
without taking a sick day, although that 
cough has been hard to hack for two weeks now. 
He hopes the steam from the washer will 
kill whatever's in his lungs

Soon Kie shows her green card to anyone to admire. 
She has for the last thirty-four years, 
but since she arrived back in '80, 
when she already had seen more 
war and death then most actual soldiers,
she still can't read above a third grade level
She's too busy cleanin' rich houses and
doin' late-night business park office spaces.

Once in awhile, they meet up in twosie's, 
maybe more, down at the park, 
near the whitewashed howitzer
from WW II government surplus
These are the Veterans of Local Wars
Sloggin' the towns trenches, listenin'
to the deafening blows of indifference,
marching every time they're told to
"Get up 'n' move on, no sleepin' here"

Life is daily skirmishes, the occasional battle,
sometimes being soldiers, sometimes the 
innocent citizen victims, cut down, strung up,
strung out, frozen out, sometimes cryin' out
'most every day, wonderin' what life's all about
to have treated 'em this way

Still, sometimes, when they see each other,
they can smile, talk about that time awhile back,
sayin' "did you see what that crazy bastard did!"
laughing at the incongruities and the ironies.
Don't have no medals, don't need no parades.
- just keep movin'

© Goode Guy 2013-05-03

Copyright © Goode Guy

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