Coming Home: Dialogue and Poetry
This past week I had the privilege of participating in a dialogue called the Coming Home Dialogues. This organization works to provide venues where veterans can use the humanities as a means of exploring their experiences. The content includes “DIALOGUES ON THE MORAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND SPIRITUAL IMPACTS OF WAR.” The group is supported graciously by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was an amazing opportunity to hear and discuss with fellow veterans, counselors, practitioners, and academics across a range of topics centered around moral and psychological injuries. I also got a chance to meet a researcher whom I’ve read before, Bill Nash of the VA. His insights into veteran matters was fascinating. One activity we participated in was poetry writing. It’s been a long time since I wrote a poem, let alone analyzed one, and it’s a form I’m not as comfortable with. We began by reading “What Every Soldier Should Know” by Brian Turner. We then worked through a staged process of creating our own version. We could be providing guidance or advice to returning veterans, those about to deploy, families, friends, or spouses. It could be about anything: how to interact with locals, what not to eat, how to treat yourself if wounded, etc. It was all fair game. The group had some amazing writing at the end of 20 minutes. I cried a little. Since I’ve been lax in getting my own writing out there lately, I want to share my poem with you all. Thank you for your trust as I serve our nation. “If We’re Being Honest” On Friday nights you’ll miss ice cream to see her pixelated face and hear about the kids’ karate lessons. But if you’re being honest, honey, you won’t tell her everything. Because You don’t want her to worry about you. Because  You want to protect her. Because You got distracted and really wanted the ice cream and to get some sleep. Because You trust your buddy sometimes more than her. Because You get it, and she won’t. Because You are ashamed and want to forget. Because You love her tonight, not you. Image credit: DVIDSHUB

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