Tuesday, April 23, 2013

introduction and four poems: Truth, Machine and Thank You For Your Service I & II

My name is Carl Nyberg. I'm a Navy veteran, 1985-96 who was recently invited to contribute to this blog.

I am from Chicago. I participated in the Warriors Writers workshop held at University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee on April 6 led by Lovella & Michael. (Thanks for the ride, Sabrina.)

Since attending the workshop I have found myself writing poems. I'm thankful that I've been invited to contribute to this blog. I hope to get some useful feedback on poems.

  • Which are as good as they are going to get?
  • Which can be improved?
  • Which have pieces that should be salvaged?
  • Which metaphors work?
  • Which should be kept personal?

Below the fold are some that came from the workshop directly.

How Will They Know the Truth? by Carl Nyberg

Layer upon layer
Detritus and kipple
Archeologists fodder
Future archeologists
Deciphering society
That didn't make sense
In real time

We Became the Machine by Carl Nyberg

Men cursed to think of themselves
As less than men
Upon mechanical failure
Of a simple machine
A gun jam
Castrated, neutered, impotent

Thank You For Your Service, I by Carl Nyberg

They ask
I tell
They don't want to hear

Thank You For Your Service, II by Carl Nyberg

The community, that beaten down community
Wants to hear a story
Wishing to make someone's son or daughter
A hero
Local kid contributes to the religion of America
If not a happy story...
As successful as a touchdown!
“Thank you for your service”
Provided you tell me the story I want to hear

I was a whistleblower about abuses at Navy Recruiting District Chicago and in Navy Recruiting Command. My first job after leaving the Navy was working for the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines. Since then I have gotten more skeptical and cynical of U.S. military policy.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989, I spent four and a half years in Asia: two ships homeported in Japan and as a military observer with UN peacekeeping mission in Cambodia.

I thought the idea of invading Iraq was so absurd, I didn't protest. It made so little sense I was convinced President George W. Bush was engaging in saber rattling and brinkmanship to prove he could get more concessions from Iraq than President Bill Clinton got from no-fly zones and cruise missiles.

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