Christopher Diaz – “On Hanging Up the Uniform” @WANPOETRY (UNOFFICIAL NPS CYPHER 2016)

Christopher Diaz – “On Hanging Up the Uniform” @WANPOETRY (UNOFFICIAL NPS CYPHER 2016)

Less than half of one percent
of the American population today serves in the military. And I have these questions. Like, why does it feel as if 99% of you
have already stopped listening? If I never went to war,
am I still a real veteran? Am I allowed to have survivor’s guilt
if my brothers are still living? Fact — My father wore the uniform for 31 years and when I finally joined
he could not stop telling everyone how good it looked on me. My brothers said they’d refuse to salute but in truth they were the first
to raise their right hand and suddenly I did not feel like the youngest anymore. Fact:
I once told my brother I thought I needed to go to Afghanistan (like he did) and the length of his lecture
reminded me I’ll always be the youngest, but — all I heard in his eyes
were ricocheted bullets bullets ripping open tents
the ringing from the blast pants floating to the ground
the sound of his rifle coming off of safe. When he finally
came home safely, I visited him. And an argument
feels like a sandstorm brewing. My words become weapon
trigger living room into war zone. A man begins to morph
into a bomb I can’t defuse. Sounds more bang than brother,
sees me more foe than family. I am on my back when he
points that weapon of a tongue back at me. And the rounds
that leave his mouth, are “I WILL END YOU” I freeze. A deer… in rifle scope and my brother
comes back. Fact:
They were both medics. My other brother keeps his shrapnel even closer. I don’t know if he kept count
of the kids that died in his arms and I never want to ask him
but I still have these questions, like How do you help yourself
when all you know is healing others? How do you fire back when your job
is to keep everyone from dying? How do I chase my dreams,
when my both of them still have nightmares? How
was I so ready to die for my country and now
I am so afraid of living for myself? Truth: I do not regret joining
Truth: I do not regret leaving Fact: In six years I lived in four countries always moving when someone told me to. And this
is where I am. Waiting for someone to tell me
what my purpose is, what this life is for,
why others died for me just to keep complaining
about how hard living is. I do not want to cry. But the tears are the same the ones I never let them see because what good is a leader if they’re
just as scared as those following them? Lie: Every veteran is a tragedy. Lie: I want you to feel sorry for them. Lie: I want you to thank them for their service. Truth: I am proud of my service
Truth: I more than my service Truth: I am both alive and living and look
at how good it looks on me.

2 Replies to “Christopher Diaz – “On Hanging Up the Uniform” @WANPOETRY (UNOFFICIAL NPS CYPHER 2016)”

  1. A domestic narrative for PTDS… Yes, thank you! Aren't you the camera man behind all these online videos? If so, THANK YOU a thousand times.

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