Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I sometimes go to the Vietnam memorial in Chicago to sit and think. I wrote this a few weeks ago based on one of those moments. It wasn't written with the Memorial Day holiday in mind, but I ended up calling it "Memorial Day," because that's what many days feel like.

Memorial Day

The names on the wall tell and the fountains
In the pool show who and how many died
I sit there sometimes thinking about my brothers and sisters
Young, dumb, proud, angry, scared, guilty just like me
I think of the people who are never represented at all
And of myself and sad that innocence can’t be etched into a wall

I’m there thinking and sitting and sad as a man jogs past
And a laughing young couple stops and the woman poses for a picture
A pigeon bathes in the pool of the dead listed on the wall and
I’m sitting and thinking and mad that
There is no respect for the sanctity of this place or the
Pain and sorrow and anger and guilt and fear to which it was built

I’m thinking and sitting and sad and mad when
I recognize the timbre of the voices falling into the pool
As that of all who were lost. They speak to me. “The sanctity of
This place exists not in the death it represents. Anger not that
Birds drink of our water or children run squealing across our plaza.
Life happens here. This is all we have ever wanted. Let life live.”

Friday, May 28, 2010


We should be blogging more often. Even if it's just thoughts flooding your brain and you need to write them down--let them out. Free them from yourself in artistic ways--healthier ways : )

I'll share a personal story about the first and only time anyone mentioned PTSD to me--as in, they thought I had it. And I do, but this was not too long after returning from the deployment. This was when I thought it was fake and made up, and of course I didn't have it!

It was my grandmother, she's been a nurse for over 40 years now, still works, and lost my grandfather over 20 years ago. She's so strong and independent, and has been a close friend to me. G-ma knew everything. She'd seen it all and then some. Her best friend is a vietnam vet, suffering very badly and progressing quickly from agent orange. He can no longer speak, and she thinks he's not even able to write any more. And of course he can't walk.

So, here I sit, in almost full blown ptsd mode, and I am happy to say that I'm able to recognize my situation, and that I need some help along the way. Which I have been for almost 2 months now. Every day is a struggle, just not always a big struggle. Enjoy and cherish your "good" days!!!

Peace, love, & light

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something to lighten the mood during this time of memories and remembrance

I am a member of the writing club where I attend college. On this Wednesday, was something new. She said she was going to read the headline of a newspaper and give a little detail about the story.

The story is that a volunteer firefighter with his 3rd arson count. So you just go with it in whatever direction you want for 5 minutes. This is some ironic, slightly sarcastic humor.

It's exciting for me,
a love I've never known.
Been doing it for years--
ever since I've been grown.

The red and orange
that lights the sky.
The heat it emmitts,
brings a tear to my eye.

I'm a volunteer firefighter,
with a secret to hide.
One that nobody knows,
I keep it deep inside.

My job is to fight fires,
sometimes saving lives.
All I have to do
is get that blaze to die.

Yet here I sit,
with my one true desire.
Light, light, light it up,
I love to start fires.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I spread the word about this Memorial Day project at our recent SE IVAW Retreat in Savannah, GA. I am excited to do this! I know I have a couple of special people to add, and Anthony Brooks has too many. Please get your words and love out for others so that we can support each other during this time of remembrance. Also, over the Memorial Day weekend, Maggie and I have our interviews and photos appearing in Savannah Morning News. It's a special salute to women in the military. You can access it online. I also participated in a live interview/discussion with some older female vets. That will be online as well. I plugged WW and such, so hopefully she uses it and it gives us more visibility. Peace!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Memorial Pages to be released on WW website: please write/send love for those who have gone by May 26

Memorial Day is coming…

makes me think of

Doug Barber

Samantha Ewing

Tim Swanson

Jonny Millantz

These pages are dedicated in to the following friends

Our following friends

Who live on inside us, in our words, in our memories

with everlasting Love


Please send the following to us by MAY 26 - Warrior Writers Wednesdays -

1. Photo(s) (hopefully)
2. DOB
3. Date of passing
4. Writing (for, by, about them)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It’s sinking in

It’s sinking in
I’m in a country called Iraq
Not to visit, or vacation
I am living here in Iraq
Not just for a summer or a month
I’m here for a year in Iraq
My birthday will be spent here
My Anniversary will be celebrated here
Halloween, Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Years
All will be celebrated in Iraq
A whole year I won’t ever get back
I’m not going to say it was wasted
There is something always to be done
There is something always learned
On the radio there are reports of killing
In the sky sound the loud thunders of helicopters
Outside the office the sun awaits to melt you
Seven days a week this place rapes me of
Always trying to get more from me
Helpless to those back home is what I feel
Everyday is a routine to this shit
Life in this army will tear you apart
Your mind, body and soul
No one back home will ever truly understand
It’s okay though they don’t need to
It’s my reality and it’s sinking in

~Dan Conerd~

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wilderness and Solitude

Yesterday at our workshop at the Vet Center in Brooklyn we discussed these topics. Then we wrote about it. You can too! Are you in search of solitude? How does solitude affect you? Are you trying to get into the wilderness? What are you searching for there? When you have been there, what is it like, what do you discover, think, feel? What does the wild offer you? ...all this while the noise of NYC bounced around us...

Here's what I wrote:

I'm not searching for solitude
just silence sometimes
I wonder if I can find myself
in the hustle and the rushing
If I sat down on the couch
and really looked at myself
peered down into my hands
what would the lines read
what do I really want and need?
Even in the slices of silence
there's all the chatter inside
and I just can't slow me down
and in trees and mountains
I search, never sitting still
for more than a moment
I"m only full of wonder
for what I really want from
solitude and wilderness
what I might answer
to these never-ending questions
there is so much life outside
and inside
yet, we remain focused
and together
and I'm deeply grateful

Lovella Calica (civilian, project founder)

NYC May Day events and performance!

10 AM-3 PM: Wellness opportunities (Acupuncture, Massage, Reiki, etc.) at the Brooklyn Vet Center
11 AM-1 PM: Brunch/Lunch/Potluck with the community (invite your pals)
1-3 PM: Writing Workshop for Veterans at the Brooklyn Vet Center
4-6 PM: NYU’s Veterans Writing Workshop Reading at NYU’s Creative Writers House
58 West 10th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
7-11 PM: Warrior Writers Performance fundraiser in Williamsburg
7 Dunham Place, 4N , Brooklyn, NY 11211 – rsvp:

Rabbit Mafia invites you to celebrate the artistic voices of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) with
a night of music, art and spoken word. Expect the unexpected with readings by veterans via Warrior Writers and an installation of works by Combat Paper.
Cocktails and appetizers will be provided by Rabbit Mafia, with recent ICE (Institute for Culinary Education) graduate and veteran Steve Mortillo.
$5 suggested donation / Artwork and books for sale