"The fallen may be the only ones who see an end to bitter
hostilities; but there's never an end to shame and disgrace."
I know that hunting season is not supposed to remind me of
manhunting; and that the death-throes of the sport fish shouldn't
dramatize a distant past. The prepared meat on the dinner table
is not supposed to remind me of exploded body
fragments. The bright colors and playful banter
of joyous companions on an undisciplined wilderness outing are
supposed to remind me that "things" have changed. The smoke
smells different, the food and drink don't taste the same, the
sounds are less hostile, the night's never as ominous ... but I
can't forget. I pretend to be "normal", to act as conventionally
privileged as anyone else ... but then a sharp noise will startle
me into a trained reaction, or an impression will transmute a
celebration into an obsequy. A strewn construction site resembles
every firebase or basecamp. A country road inspires fire lanes,
registration points, ambush triggers, and fall-backs. Parks evoke
parade grounds, and landscapes are reminiscent of serried ranks.
A truck loaded with baled christmas trees abruptly recollects
poncho-wrapped corpses being hauled away for disposal. I remain
haunted by the undignified haste and relentless preoccupation of
the devouring insects feasting on the remnants of battle ...
there is no decent interval, nor honorable pacification, for a
lost generation of condemned souls.
by Pan Perdu
... who is a former soldier and VA counselor; this work has been
excerpted from Fragmentations, a book in progress.