Friday, October 28, 2011

Inner Voices: Occupy Space

Hey everyone! I have created the second in a series of poetry shows in NYC. Check my FB page for details under Nicole Goodwin: Events (Inner Voices). Or hit me up for details at hope to see ya'll on Nov.19th! And remember "OCCUPY EVERYTHING!"

Monday, October 3, 2011


Hello Friends,

As you know, the Warrior Writers' third anthology will be released in a few weeks, so we'll need volunteers for copy editors to edit the work of our veterans!

The third anthology features the work of about 60 veterans from all branches of the military and all pockets of the United States. With the platform provided by Warrior Writers, these veterans have reflected on years of service to share their experiences with us. Our goal is to have the book published by Veterans' Day, so volunteer your time for the veterans who had the courage to share their military experiences with not only Warrior Writers, but others around the country who will read the book.

If you are interested, please email!

Your time is appreciated,

Warrior Writers - Philadelphia

Friday, September 30, 2011


Warrior Writers Chicago is in week 3 of a 6-week residency at a local community art space called Mess Hall. The theme of this week's workshops is "indoctrination." During this workshop, facilitators ask veterans to reflect on their training in the military. What values did you learn to adopt? What changes did you undergo during training? What did you begin to believe that you hadn’t believed before training? How did your time away affect your life, family, community?

Here is mine:


We did jumping jacks until we called them side-straddle hops.
We walked with ruck sacks on our backs until we called it humping.
We accepted punishment until we called it discipline.
We shouted cries for death until we called it singing.
We fired guns until we called them weapons.
We shot at plastic people until we called them “enemy.”
We studied myths until we called them realities.
We trained to oppress populations until we called it liberating them.
We said awful things about stomping babies until we called them jokes.
We did the wrong things until we called them right.
We instilled and lived in fear until we called it love.
We called it all something else until we believed it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Dirty Realism" in Granta

Check out the new Granta, which includes Phil Klay's story "Redeployment"--reviewed in the Economist.
Also don't miss his web-only story "OIF."

X-posted from caribou (4 Sept 2011)

To Hell and Back Again

X-posted from caribou (24 Sept 2011)


Last night I had the chance to see a screening of To Hell and Back Again here at Princeton, thanks to React to Film and Prof. Meredith Martin.

This documentary tells the story of Sergeant Nathan Harris, a Marine squad leader who gets wounded in an ambush in Afghanistan. Using footage from Afghanistan and after, director Danfung Dennis weaves an affecting, complex story about the effects and experience of war.

Northumberland, PA (redux)

Our troops are on bases in lands far away
I cant help but wonder what grandfather would say
He sailed from England for a better life
And here's where he lived and married his wife
There were children born and that led to me
I've followed the path on my family tree
The British Empire stretched far and wide
But he joined the militia on the American side
Today we're deployed in so many places
The Sun never sets on all of our bases
I'm wondering now like the man on the street
Is Empire really something we want to repeat?

Jim Hale
September 27 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Northumberland, PA

Our troops are on bases in lands far away
And I cant help but wonder what grandfather would say
He sailed from England for a better life
And here he lived and met his wife
There were children born that led to me
I've followed the path of my family tree
The British Empire it stretched far and wide
But he joined the militia on the American side
I'm wondering now like the man on the street
Is Empire really something we want to repeat?

Jim Hale
September 27 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

from Clerks

We wrote the paperwork
We got the calls
We booked the flights
for the boys
getting the fuck outta dodge.
Boys with sunken cheeks
darkened by the sun
with sand still in their ears.
Boys with only a burden,
beer, and sex on their minds
to soften the edges of
the sins they carried.
Then there were the boys
that left their burdens
in the desert,
draped in flags
to soften the burdens
of the sins we carry.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reflections on 10 Years of War (free write)

How can I say what can't be spoken about rage and regret?

10 years later how does my country feel about all that's been lost?
What has been lost?
morality, love, acceptance, progress, deep thinking, questioning, connecting

Where is our military? What are the reasons for supporting the wars?
fear, hatred, vengeance, need for significance...where else can we find meaning?
family, love, nature, beauty, hope, believing, giving of ourselves

Why do we look to war for meaning?
History, lies, we want to be a part of something bigger

What is the problem?
sub-human, no connection, no love, no respect-for ourselves or others

We saw the smoke billowing up to the sky,
nervous energy about our own lives, what role would I play in this, how can I shine?

Then I saw the lives as valuable as mine
Then I saw the love much greater than mine
Then I saw the hate grow in my own kind
Then I asked the question, why am I here, with a M-16 and sand in my hair?
Where is my life, my love, and why?
Over lines across oceans I cry out to you or God or anyone.

But no one heard because my words wouldn't come, they just stayed in my heart like a beating drum.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life in opposition

Like other paths that I have found Not easy to see when they come around  A normal life was never mine Was traded for a new design

I looked and didn't see the reason You'd think that I committed treason The road I took was marked taboo And I've never missed the social glue Jim Hale August 31 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bunnies vs Air Force

Bunnies in the bush
Bunnies in the jungle
They took away our teeth
Upper echelon bungle

They took away our lights
That shone out on the wire
We hoped for the best
When we came under fire

But we kept our mortars
Which was a real good thing
We were bunnies in the woods
Hope your listening

Don't put bunnies in the jungle
And leave us out there
Unless you're busy in Saigon
Or you just didn't care

Jim Hale
August 26 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Foreign Medals

Campaign medal and Gallantry Cross
Reminders of the war we lost
A memory kept in a dusty drawer
From a made up country and a long ago war

Jim Hale
August 21 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Winter Soldiers

Evil wicked mean and nasty
A little pissed off, but mostly happy

An angry vet can leave a mark
The FBI did hear me bark

They sent a narc to be my friend
I was young and failed to comprehend

We were never guilty of any crime
But they dropped the hammer big time

For trying to stop the war we fought
They wanted to stop our freedom of thought

Nixon went down and we were acquitted
If the truth was known, it was them we outwitted

Jim Hale
July 30 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Can't Believe I Avoided Time for So Long

I think it was already a month ago that I noticed a new Warrior Writers book was in the works and had a call out for submissions. I meant to get back on right away after I saw that e-mail, but I think that "right away" slipped away a month ago already and I think after I write this posting I'm going to look for my last posting on this blog and think about how long it has been.

I have been writing a whole lot more, and also conspicuously less in some areas. I wanted to enter a creative non-fiction scholarship essay contest in Spring of this year (deadline April 2011) and I decided some kind of account of my deployment would be good to write. After all, I wanted to win the money ($10,000 prize sounds very fine to a struggling single mother) and the climate is ripe for war stories, so I figured I would try.

The problem is I can't remember anything the way it should be told.

My memory is fragmented, my internal timeline is off, and the journal I kept while I was in Iraq? I didn't even MENTION that I was in Iraq one single time.

I was thinking I'd post some fragments on here every few days, and hope for some words of encouragement, workshop advice, or...

Oh, who knows.
I absolutely have to keep writing,
is all.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Where Am I?

Where am I?
Swinging to and fro
through the hoops
you have conditioned
me to adapt;
to the changes
you desire most.

Where am I?
On the short train
to hell
fire blazing on my trail
as I consider your
final destiny.

Where am I?
Holding on to nothing
in the air
that suffocates me
and stifles my very words;
words you don't
want to hear.

Where am I?
Inside a tiny jar
struggling to climb
up to the brim
just to be shoved
back to the base
once again.

Where am I?
Somewhere I never
hoped to be
deep inside your head
yet colored
and painted red for hate
you hate me
and that's okay.

Where am I?
Facing such confusion
anger and pain
time for seclusion to take
up camp and stalk
my brain.

Where am I?
Leaving comforts
and joy in the
wind as I step
out to be new again.

Where am I?
I am here
going down the hill
of hope faster
than a bullet
can make one choke.

I am everywhere
you look with those vacant eyes
try, try, try
to move on with
this opportunity
to be simply
I am here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Support the publication of our next book! Donate today to help get the voices of our veterans in print and in the hands of those who need it! Click here to donate.

If you haven’t bought one of our previous anthologies in awhile, consider gifting one to yourself or a friend. Check out our new online store!!

Warrior Writers is partnering with Outward Bound to take veterans on a canoeing and rock-climbing expedition! The course is from July 15-20 in the Delaware Water gap. All expenses paid, including travel to Philly. Paperwork is due Friday, July 1! Don’t let this chance pass you by! You will be glad you went! Click here for more info.

Join us for our next Veterans and Community Conference in Chicago this September. Details will be available on the website next month. Click here to see photos from our Philly conference.

Give thanks for all the new veterans who joined the Warrior Writers community in Boston this past week at the William Joiner Center. We are very grateful for the openness and amazing writing that the Boston vets contributed, and for the allies who helped make it possible. WW Boston be gathering in the next couple weeks to start preparing their submissions for the book. Contact Ian at for more info.

Featured Artist: Hart Viges

War feeds my soul
It gives me purpose
Fire coursing through my veins
Water through my eyes
Gunpowder through my fingers
Heart beats with adrenaline
Mother slaps my face with a kiss
Everything is upside down
Right side up
I hide
I forget
I pray
Home is gone
Sleep in sweat
Drink piss
Hurt people
Hurt myself
War feeds my soul
It gives me purpose
Phoenix rise
Flip the coin
Wear black in Summer
Family safety brief
Found the struggle
The new war
A new way to fight
Fire coursing through my throat
Water through my eyes
Music moves my fingers and feet
Love feeds my soul
It gives me purpose

Writing Exercise - Hart’s piece speaks of purpose. For many the feeling of contributing to something was lost when they left the service. How have you found purpose in new places? Was there a struggle to find it or are you still searching?

Please share your work at any stage with the Warrior Writers community at If you need a login, contact

Be in the loop! We’re in the process of building our database and need your addresses so we can send you postcards about our upcoming events and what not. Please click here to submit your info via our website.

BE OUR MURALIST! If you or someone you know is a muralist or can collaborate with one (apply as a collective) is interested in powerful, innovative work with veterans, download
the application now. We’ve extended the deadline and will post the new date on May 10th.

Be in the next Warrior Writers book, be a peer editor! We’ve sent out the call for submissions for our third anthology of work by veterans. Download the complete submission guidelines
here. Submissions are due by August 1st, so use the summer time to get your creative juices flowing! Remember, you can post your work on the blog or Facebook to get feedback from others. Warrior Writers artists who are interested in helping to provide in-depth feedback to your peers about their writing should email us by July 6 at to let us know. Start deciding which four pieces you want to submit.

Be on the website! Warrior Writers artists, what are you up to? Send details on the events you’re organizing or involved in and we’ll post it on the web. Send to

Become our friends/supporters/fan on Facebook (Warrior Writers) and invite your friends to spread the word to their network.

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 29, The Eyes of Babylon - Artist talk/discussion

Warrior Writers hosts an artist talk-back and discussion immediately following the play, The Eyes of Babylon, showing Off-Broadway this Wednesday June 29. We’re offering 20 comp tickets to our network, so if you’re able to attend, send us your name asap.

In this commanding solo performance, Jeff Key describes how his Southern upbringing and determined patriotism lead him to enlist in the Marine Corps as a 34 year-old gay man. When the U.S. is attacked less than a year later on September 11th, Key finds himself unexpectedly preparing for war.


Wednesday June 29, 7pm

59 East 59th Street, NY, NY 10022

Free, first come, first served tickets – Send your name to

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lincoln's Speech

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan -- to do all which may achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations."

From Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, given November 19, 1863 on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania


Lincolns speech

The Gettysburg speech did pave the way
For all the benefits we enjoy from the VA

Like hospitalization, and primary care
Our GI Bill, didn't fall from the air

Like travel pay to get to my appointments
Full dental, mental health and antidepressants

If your damaged from service and your life is affected
In theory your automatically service connected

But a bureaucrat will fight you each step of the way
The process is tedious with years of delay

And once you granted the attention you needed
You wake up to the fact of how much we've been cheated

Who would have guessed all these perks of today
Came from a president now rumored to have been gay

Jim Hale
June 24 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Christmas 1914 & 1968

It was fifty years and four more ago
Since World War I was being fought in the snow

Christmas 1914 the soldiers endured
In the darkness, no mans land was obscured

But then a holiday tree could be seen in the wire
In the hearts of the soldiers, dreams of peace were inspired

The soldiers from Germany, France, and the UK
Played soccer together on Christmas day

The truce was not sanctioned, they were breaking the rules
To keep fighting on Christmas, they'd have to be fools

There was peace in some places till New Years Day
But higher up officers made them again square away

Now its Christmas 1968
Up all night for the Sun we await

Our lights are all gone and our vision impaired
It's so dark at night, except for the parachute flares

Our mortars are thumping, the tracers are flying
My heart double pumping, there's somebody dying

Bullets reach a target, may not be what you think
Its war for Christmas, we went over the brink

A hundred yards past the airstrip that night
The Viet Cong were trying, to get in close for a fight

Back in the world, Silent Night they were singing
When our mortars took out, the gifts they were bringing

Than came the sound of secondary explosions
I just put it away, and forgot those emotions

But now its all finished with, over and done
In spite of the dying, no peace has been won

World War I happened a long time ago
The reasons for fighting I never did know

In 2014 it will be 100 years
Since the war that was stopped by those brave mutineers

Is peace on Earth just some words in a speech?
Or could it be something war veterans might teach?

Jim Hale
June 18 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Combat loss

They said there'd be no shooting I believed it of course
When I turned 18 and joined the US Air Force

Fifteen left behind on a forward air control post
On this island 5 miles off the Cambodian coast

The duty was hard but I did my time
But why did they take out the claymore mines?

I guess we were just a combat loss
It was down to us to pay the cost

I didn't know what all went down
It was just a bad place to hang around

Forty years past and my heads still a mess
The VA's calling it combat stress

If you serve your country just like me
You too may qualify for the VA extended warranty

Jim Hale
June 15 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey you guys! I am working on a proposal to submit for Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2012. I want to do a group reading with other Vets to show the healing power of writing poetry. If any of you guys would be interested in performing, please email me for more info. My email is or hit me up on Facebook under Nicole Goodwin.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What war, what other news?

I wrote this a couple months ago, before I was a member here. Allot of this holds true now........

On the TV news they keep on preachin
To go 24/7 their really reachin

Politicians under the gun
Must be day ninety one

Ice in the south and snow in the east
Tuscon mass shooting 6 deceased

Never a word on the two wars were fighting
Funeral protesters must be delighting

If we cant see the war we're waging
How are we to be a gaging

The cost of war is all but hidden
The VA system is overridden

There must be a way that we can see
The real news, and that’s bugging me

Jim Hale
January 12 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Out of here

Democrats hate republicans
But they have no guts
Republicans hate democrats
They all drive me nuts

No other nation can take our crown
The lies they're tellin will bring us down

The war goes on its in the overtime frame
Vietnam Iraq different names but the same game

Open up your eyes and lend me your ear
Declare victory and get us out of here

Jim Hale
June 7 2011

INNER VOICES: An Afternoon of Poetry

Come one, come all! This free event features some of the most ecclectic array of poets in New York City. What a way to start the summer!!!! Location: 125th Street Branch Library, East 125th Street and 3rd Avenue. From 2pm-4pm!
June 20-July 1 Warrior Writers joins the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at their annual summer Writers' Workshop. The Joiner Center offers a two-week writers workshop led by a remarkable list of current writers and poets. Warrior Writers founder Lovella Calica will lead veterans' writing workshops and civilian ally training as part of the two week schedule. The Joiner Center graciously offers free tuition to Afghanistan and Iraq veteran applicants, so any Warrior Writers interested are encouraged to apply! The workshop is one or two weeks. More info here:

who's the enemy?

this is for my battle buddy, Cooper, who in basic training
lay on the floor in a pool of his own blood
teeth missing, eyes swollen shut
I could see the boot prints on his face
beat for bein black, beat for his race

this is for G-force
the brick house jumpmaster, paratroopin disaster 
Maaan, he could sing!
and make everyone laugh
but they called him names when he turned his back
see, G took care of me and I trusted him for that 
he taught me how to fly, how to pull the trigger
and no afghani ever called him nigger

this is for the Vietnam Vet
who told me he didn't fear the death he might meet
because of his skin color, 
he already worried about bein strung up
just for walkin down his own street

we were told the military would teach us 
how to share our freedom
but what we learned was a new level of hate.

when we weren't training to kill people with turbans 
we were conditioned to hate our sisters and brothers
foreign, domestic, and urban 

this institution thrives on hate:

there was a swastika brand on the chest
of my first army roommate.  
he told me uncle Sam don't care
but I couldn’t help but stare

at the absurdity of a man
wearing an arrowhead patch 
representing the spirit of the Native Americans 
crowned with a U.S. flag, on a blouse 
encasing a chest
branded with a symbol of hate 
this uniform supposedly defeated?

I’ve got news for you America
the enemy isn't in the Middle East
or Africa or Asia or Central and South America

It’s within you 
and it’s within me
It’s the institution of hate
that keeps people from bein free.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


This is not about any organization but a weird connection

I was a teenager speaking to my principal

A Vietnam Vet

At the time I was impressionable

gun ho for the invasions and slaying of evil doer muslim blood

He reached out to me and we never agreed

Except of our two minds that thought differently

At a young age I embraced music

Flavored in foreign worldly delights

I burned a CD of music that contained

Southeast asian 60s/70s infused acid rock

I gave this gift to my principal

I gift soon to become nothing but a gift but a prophecy delivered to me

He played it in his office and it came clear instantly

That he was no longer the head of the school that I was enrolled in

He broke out in tears

I didn't understand it fully until I became what he once was

A veteran

I wonder some nights

How foolish I was not to see what a grown mans tears can warn me of what I was about to be apart of

Now I live a life of pain trying to not forget but accept peacefully that I was once apart of something larger

Something not to be proud of but something large nonetheless

Apart of American Imperialism

Apart of something I fought for and made it clear in my mind that it was right

Recently I tried to reach out to him and I still wait for an e-mail or call for all I got was a old teacher I use to have from that very school

She told me that she'd pass the message along

I told her weather or not I would ever speak to him that to leave my forwarded message with my quoted words

"You were right!"

He was a veteran of foreign wars

Wise in his age

Sending a message louder then any bomb

To a soon to be good ol boy

In Uncle Sam's fan club.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Grind

and the burning coffee.
The elixir of the night shift
stripped of its essence:
decaffeinated, over-extracted
and burnt.
Sporadic sleep under artificial darkness,
and challenging the insistent sun.
Running to embrace the comfort
of night
only to find that all things had been raped.
Stripped of all fragrance and beauty,
to a bitter sludge
of shapeless grinds.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Boy I've Ever Been

She says to me "You're still far and away
the boy you've ever been,"and I want to
stand and flip the table over.
The boy I've ever been was never so
angry to want to flip a table over.

Thanks to everyone who came to the VCC in Philadelphia. Love to you all!
(This poem uses a line from "Dear Avery" by The Decemberists)

Friday, May 20, 2011


A woman's courage is often mistaken for insanity
A man's insanity can be mistaken for courage
Making sense of any of this escapes me

For now

Jim Hale
February 9 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Studio 84 Vets' Art Exhibition

Veteran’s Art Exhibit Call for Artists

Studio 84

121 W. Center St.

Whitewater, WI 53190


Dates of exhibit:

July 1-28 2011


Entries due: June 17

Delivery of art due: June 24

Reception: Friday, July 1 6-7:30 pm

We will be open on July 4 for Whitewater’s parade and festival activities.

Any subject, any medium, submit up to 4 pieces.

Artists must be a veteran.

No entry fee, but donations are always welcome; we are a 501c3 non profit community art studio and gallery.

Donations are tax deductible.

Find out more at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A War I Brought Back Home.

War, war is what I get Inside the mind of this Troubled young Vet. when I came home there was fuzzy tone everything seemed to change and Inside I felt alone. Bombs and death were still vey clear, The ringing never stops inside of my ear. The only friend that I could keep was a friend in the form of a drink, Day or night he'd help to kill the fright to numb the pain inside my brain, This war inside is driving me insane. Money and pills are the answer from THEM but all I want is to be ME again.

Monday, May 9, 2011



Police state new york city

Invasion Of afghanistan

A new american war

Another front on the war on drugs begins

A drug epidemic not of south american origin

But a new trade route explosion of heroin to the east coast

Under the noses of Americans that the TV never televises

For New york may be secure but Jersey was not ready and was never ready for the influx of poppy poison

They call it dirty jersey

and MTV portrays it with their brawling violent show to exploit the notorious state

I got something to say about those fake privileged fools chillin in Seaside

There full of shit of what Jersey really is

No fan of the two of them but Trump your a joke

Obama your a lier but I know your an American

For the jersey shore crew your suspect as new yorkers

I wanna see your Jersey birth certificate of authenticity

Our license plate states say the garden state but for many its the garbage state

Its not the attitude or the women with hair spray and teased up hair

It comes in cellophane bags

75% of blissful street grade purity

The spread of this painkiller has know boundaries

and flat liners hit the hospitals stretctors in regularity

I ain't know hypocrite for when I came home from Iraq a needled dangled in my arm

Theres no escape

I don't know a friend who has not tried it, flat lined, or died from it

I'm hear at this mic for vengeance

To the war in Afghanistan and the government who let the flow of kilos sail the atlantic to the delaware river docks

Those fools turned a blind eye

This is personal

Fuck the war

Fuck the drug war

It never worked in South America and it won't work in this desert barren battle land

This is the trash

This is the dirt

This is the ugly truth

Of a true story

The real reality show of Sleazy Jersey

Hookers, Drugs, STDs, Needles, gambling, poverty, and Job cuts to the poor that are now poorer.

Oh yah and fuck that mother fucker Chris Christie

No better than Scott Walker sitting in his throne in Wisconsin with people under him suffering.

There is always a cause an effect to everything

This is just another secret to the overall reality of war without boundaries.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My event

Hey I'm having an event on June 11th, 2pm-4pm. Follow the link for details:

Thanks hope to see ya'll there.

P.S.- I'm still looking for poets to read their work. Email me at

My Thoughts on Evil

As we celebrate in the streets,
A man is dead.
Not a good man, but a man
But what is the difference between
Man and monster?
Only history I suppose.
The victor's story is the only one
So why not celebrate?
Why not call for more blood
In the streets?
Because the idea is not dead.
Bloodthirsty ideals never seem to die
in human hands.
Wars are big business.
And we are all bathed in the remnants
of blood.
I see my daughter's future painted black
Never to be clean again.
As the chaos sings its chorus of
"Good job!" and "Well done!"
I know of many who have thrown
themselves around the barrel of a gun
Ending it all in the name of liberty.
Was it worth it? All of this celebration
and "anniversaries of remembrance"
Is it worth it to carry ten years a heavy
burden all for the sake of vengeance?
Remember the Nazis celebrated the death
of the Jews, the Romans the Christians,
and now the Christians the Muslims and
I am in the mist of it all, walking a thin line
still living on the fringe.
How's that for remembrances?
We have shown we forget in the blink of an
blind eye. And in this way people more, often
than not, evil has won.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What we've seen

What we've seen, we'll never forget. What we've done, we'll always regret.
The mind will wander for hours and hours. Unrelenting thoughts from Kabul to Baghdad.
All the while, tossing soccer balls to kids. Then laugh when they fight--
fight to the death over one single ball.
Houses made of shit, tea full of sugar.
Decaying cow carcasses lining the roads.
A surreal moment as you check your soul.


Some show with a crooked smile--others go for walks that last a mile.
Flowers and babies, puppies and butterflies;
all of these things only last a while.
Images dancing in our dreams, making every person beam.
Smiles or walks--it doesn't matter, just enjoy the small things--and lots of laughter!


A corpse, shrouded in white and
Resting on a plank, is upended and
Slides away into the eternal dark of
The Arabian Sea,

Crowds gather in plazas to
Cheer and wave banners and cry for
More, more, more. They traipse and
Trip and tumble about each other,

In the glory of our recent victory
Another young American snaps one
final salute before taking one
Final step from a rooftop,


Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Dead!?

This is a big day in history and if you are like me you have a lot of strange and mixed feelings about this. The beauty of poetry is finding a way to express a whole lot of complicated emotions in a succinct way. Write about today, what is your reaction? How do you feel?

Do it, share it!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Joiner Center Summer Workshop

Warrior Writers once again joins the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at their annual summer Writers' Workshop. The Joiner Center offers a two-week writers workshop led by a remarkable list of current writers and poets. Warrior Writers founder Lovella Calica will lead veterans' writing workshops and civilian ally training as part of the two week schedule. The Joiner Center graciously offers free tuition to Afghanistan and Iraq veteran applicants, so any Warrior Writers interested are encouraged to apply! The workshop is one or two weeks. Get the schedule and more information here:

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I wrote trigger finger last week, and images came to me, so I recited it to a file, and created this 29 sec videopoem.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The door

The door

My verse and rhyme did start to flowing
With metaphor and thoughts I'm knowing
And yet I knew.. there was something more
What lies beyond the unopened door?
If I look behind it I just might pass
Through the other side of the looking glass
For there are things I might yet find
Release a logjam still confined
I may find visions so sublime
And see the music dance in time
The time was right so I dropped some spores
Quote the raven, grow some more

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Warrior Writers Visioning Call

Everyone check their e-mail for a phone meeting next week. If you want to be on the call and I somehow missed you-just let me know either on here or at
Hope to hear a lot of voices this next meeting!!

"Thank you for your service"

When someone thanks me for my service
It leaves me cold and feeling nervous

I'm glad they took the time to speak
But there’s no glory or thanks I seek

I was in the war so long ago
But it was the lies they told that made me go

There's only one thing of you I'd like to ask
Just please make this war be our last

Jim Hale
April 21 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trigger finger

It followed me throughout my life
A product of the war and strife

My right arm for so long it carried
Long before my wife I married

The force inside my lizard brain
Controls my fist oh please explain

Just who I'm kicking in my sleep
I cant see its in too deep

I made it stop no more to linger
It started with my trigger finger

Jim Hale
April 16 2011


Theres a drug thats prescribed in a form that is green and smokeable

And is now being given to those with PTSD

Though on the streets in killeen its out of reach for those in need

So, people go to the local convientence stores to smoke an alternative

An Alternative that works similarly to the miracle drug that became more widely accepted and has been used for centuries.

The fake product is labeled as popery and its in bags that are labeled in deception that say differently.

I can't be ashamed for those who manufacture it for they know its cheaper then genuine therapy.

Douce those pills down with a bottle of whiskey and amplify it ten fold and crawl into a blanket and be so annihilated that the nightmares might haunt you but not wake you.

The effects of these gas station chemists' drug give the uniformed is not fully understood

Its better then the numerous poisons prescribed to those who where the uniform.

Spice up your night solider instead of taking a cocktail of prescriptions that can't be any healthier then what a man behind a gas station counter can give you.

This town, and its ironic signs like, "Beer is cheaper than therapy".

A silent protest to a healthcare system thats failed us all.

Soldiers of Killeen

First off I'm not saying that I'm some wise man cause I'm not but I've got something to say about this town and waste.

Like many in the town of killeen, I'm a young soldier and I've gone to Iraq for good reason that I can't even think of.

I risked my ass for money that wasn't worth the weight in my own personal suffering.

Did I come back only to see others over-drafted bank accounts.

I wonder whether or not any other GIs realized the worth of the money they've spent.

I'm talking about the four wheeled deployments that they strut down the streets of killeen.

Were they thinking about the custom colored paint job scheme as bullets flew by just shy of them.

My hope for my fellow uniformed individual that the repo-man never comes by to take away their ride.

Call me cheap but I know the worth of money in which I risked my life.

I hope you enjoy showing off your rims in the parking lot while your tanks on E and I drive by.

I love the picture on a nice 1080 hp flat screen TV.

If you ever need a new television I know where to steal one

I'm thinking about getting one myself but I've been waiting a few months for you can always expect a bargain from a soldier back from sand box who never made certain that they could afford it in the first place.

Killeen can be such a big garage sale of greed and shame.

People don't know the worth of their own money unless they've put the hours in

The Army makes an uncanny exception to this old golden rule.

You never have anything to spend while in Iraq

For some of us young ones the paychecks collect and collect.

When you finally got the chance to spend the money it almost feels as though you won the lottery

Its more money then most people have all at once.

My heart goes out to those who lose it all to the simple expensive materialistic desires of the idea of where they see themselves in the future.

As if the tour is over and the job is done

Now they can begin a new life full of Perceived success and total fulfillment.

I am what they call a soldier of killeen and for what its worth I realize that the compensation I've received is not nearly worth my own life.

So, soldiers out their make good of your money and save a little. Be aware that the money you've got was at one point what you earned while you tried to survive.

I'll live with it for the rest of my life

sluggish, sloppy, and drunkenly numb

The next day i'll put on the uniform...go to work

Its almost over but I'll never let go once I can put my work clothes to rest

For they will live as an aurora around me

My medals will be pinned, dangling from me as if for the world to see but for only me to know I've received

They haunt with anxiety that can't be released

I'll live with them for the rest of my life

My rebirth has just begun with a paper colorfully honoring my departure

Service complete

I'll go home to my wife

I'll pick up a bottle of choice that will contain my remedy hoping to bring back a life lost

Then, fall asleep on the couch with my wife snuggled in the bed we share no longer

For the nightmares will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Why do I breathe when my friends left me, bled out in a bag that I put in a humvee.

This is dedicated to a buddy of mine

My Tool Box

I carried it, it carried thirty pounds. It was a keeper of lifesaving tools. Gauze, tape, sodium chloride, and tubing for the infussion of such. Needles and band-aids, even a little morphine. Lots of tabs, you know-- the ibuprofen type. The army considers it a cure-all. "Hand it out like candy" every day is Halloween. Don't worry about a thing, especially your liver being worth a damn by age thirty. Tons of gloves-- my one pet peeve, I would go without on certain scenes, but that; that's just me. I always wanted to be a helper of those too scared to be free. I was a medic and it was my tool box. *What did you carry that left a stain on your brain? What did you do with it, and what were and are your feelings about it?

Friday, April 15, 2011

support the troops

"we just Need to support the troops"
is what they tell me

well, this is from a troop
so listen carefully

what we Need are teachers who understand the history of this country
what we Need is a decent living wage, so people aint cold and hungry
what we Need is bicycle infrastructure spanning this beauteous nation
what we Need are more trees and less playstations
what we Need is a justice system that seeks the truth
what we Need are more books and less boots


is love

for every woman and man
from southern Louisiana
to the mountains of Afghanistan

Now, it's true
The troops need support

-the support to come home

they need treatment and jobs and love for the soul

war ain't no good
for the human condition
I lost a piece of who I was
on every single mission
and I'm tellin you,
don't thank me for what I've done

give me a big hug
and let me know

we're not gonna let this happen again

because we support the troops
and we're gonna bring these wars to an end

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ash and Bone

Your deeds swim in my head
So much so the taste lingers
In my mouth

I close my eyes and see
the sight, the horror
I smell the brisk fire
And inhale the dried sand

I wonder how much of me
is truly left.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Being MIA--benefits and downsides

We all go mia from time to time--either we need to isolate to deal with hard times, or we just get busy and forget to take time for ourselves. When I go mia, I tend to write more. It's usually about what I'm dealing with in my life at the moment. The problem with isolating is that you feel even more alone and don't allow anyone to help you through. It also makes it harder to get back into the groove of things. This is a poem from my latest mia mission--something I've been coping with for a long time. Feel free to post anything you create during your "alone" time! I see your blood from time to time. Cement walkways stained with it... Walls painted red-- I knew you would die judging by the hole in your chest. I see your blood from time to time. It's in my dreams, lights flickering, a girl screams. The walls are stained. She chases me, down the stairs-- never-ending ending stairs Look in the mirror, what do you see? That girl, she could be me... Covered in blood, your blood hands and feet-- uniform, and just me. I feel dirty, wearing his blood for days. I see your blood, from time to time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I revised a poem I wrote on here a month or so ago, let me know what you think.

We bring the occupation home with us;
Inside our heads the tour
never ends, does it?
We just sit , breathing, and try and fight and feel like
Strangers within our own skin,
Not thinking about what we are doing
we drink, lonely, craving others to
join the occupation of our souls,
as if company could pacify the wounds,
could make the occupation less harsh -
We require “battle buddies” to drink with and watch movies with and
play video games with
inside our occupied

We bring the occupation home with us;
Setting up enemy camp inside our rib cage,
within our skulls,
Dwelling in ourselves like aliens, hostile
to our own cause.
Hostile to my cause and
hostile to your cause;
when will we withdraw?
And let our souls live free again?
And let our hearts breathe again?
And let our minds speak again?

If we bring the occupation home with us,
then we never really came home.

I want to be home.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I know you don't mean it

If you saw the smiles
could you say
the things you do?

Quote, "Nuke the country
make it a parkin lot
we can show'em
by buildin

Well, I love to break it to you

they have
their own
stores too

sometimes it rains
sometimes it snows
sometimes the skys
are blue

They even have farmers
working their fields
I've been there
I know it's true

One time,
I approached
the mountains
to wash off
in a snowy spring

it reminded me
of Arkansas:

mountains - without the green

I know you speak
from ignorance
your words
you can't understand

The beauty of life is everywhere

even in

Friday, February 18, 2011

Can't Sleep Much...

Can't sleep much these days,
My brain seems to have made up its mind to keep the midnight oil burnin'
Regardless of how much I wish I could just put it out.

There is this tension on my soul you see,
It pulls and holds me fast,
Because I am so intrinsically connected
By the horrible travesty that humankind tends to be to itself.

I've seen the ascension,
I've seen the ascension,
And for my part, is there any redemption?

Can't sleep much these days,
I keep seeing the faces of those who will never awake again,
How could I have ever taken part in such a thing?

I've seen the ascension,
I've seen the ascension,
And as for my mistaken allegiance, is there any redemption?

I've seen the blood of innocent men run red,
I've seen the blood of innocent men run red,
My god it's just like mine,
My god it's just like mine…

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Muralists In Philly, And A New Contest!

First off, any Warrior Writers who consider themselves muralists, step right up. We're finally putting out our Request For Proposals for the Philadelphia mural project. If you, or someone you know, could tackle this, please drop a line to I don't have the RFP posted on the website yet, but we're working on it (and will post a link as soon as I do). It's a great opportunity, both for us and the muralist, to work in a city known for the quality and quantity of its mural artwork.

Also, Jan Barry has brought the Nimrod Literary Contest to our attention. They're a (comparatively) prestigious literary journal, and they're looking for submissions for their annual prose and poetry contest. See their site ( for details. This is a great opportunity to spread your voice beyond yourself and make yourself heard.

Monday, February 14, 2011

For NJ-area Warrior Writers, this powerful exhibition looks like something well worth attending, and maybe even reading or exhibiting some of your work. Check it out!

The Costs of War
A Call for Poetry and Works of Art Depicting the Human and Financial Costs of War
The mounting costs of war over the past decade are staggering. More than 4,436 US troops and over 1 million civilians have been killed in Iraq and over 32,009 US troops have been wounded ( Casualties in Afghanistan and Pakistan have also been horrendous. The US has spent over $1 trillion on these wars since 2001. Bergen County, NJ’s portion of that cost to taxpayers is an estimated $6.5 billion ( Across America, local and state governments hit by cuts in federal grants are laying off teachers and police officers, cutting funding for schools and colleges. High unemployment in an economy drained by wars and domestic fiscal crises continues to be disastrous for millions of Americans families—and is higher still for young military veterans.
To address this tragic state of our nation, a grassroots presentation on the human and financial costs of war will be held at the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck. The public art exhibit by people in the Northern New Jersey-New York area will be from March 15-April 8, 2011. The exhibit will feature art and poetry by adults and children, war veterans and military family members, about the human and financial costs of war.
On Sunday, March 20, the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, there will be a cultural event at the Puffin: Looking at the Costs of War Through the Arts. This event will feature local poets, rap and spoken word artists, singers and musicians.
Here are ways you can participate or help with the exhibit and cultural event:
· Submit your own works of art or poetry. Send an e-mail describing the content and size of your work. Attach a copy or photo if possible.
· Contact math teachers (re the financial costs of war), writing and art teachers to encourage them to have interested students submit work.
· Contact community, veteran, labor, and religious groups to encourage members to submit work.
· Encourage your organization to co-sponsor this event.
· Help with installation of the exhibit or help with publicity.
All works of art should be focused specifically on the human and/or the financial costs of war. There will be a screening of all submissions because of space concerns. For more information, inquiries, or to submit work, write to

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Philadelphia Lit Magazine

Philadelphia-area Warrior Writers, take a look at this: a perfect opportunity for you to submit some pieces you might have been thinking of or working on. Particularly note the last paragraph: APIARY likes performances of the submitted pieces, so those who are as eager to speak their truths as to write them, grab your pen or your keyboard.

"APIARY is a literary magazine released twice a year in summer and winter. We publish poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction, two-dimensional art, song lyrics, reviews, manifestos, and more.

In order to get published by APIARY, your work must be original. Simultaneous submissions and previously published pieces are fine, as long as you notify us which of your work has been/will be published elsewhere. We will consider submissions for both print and online journals.

Submission Guidelines

Electronic submissions only, sent in .doc format to The file name should include your last name. All submissions should be 12-point font and double-spaced. In the top left corner of the title page include a header with your name phone number and email, along with the word count. Multiple submissions are not accepted per reading period except for poetry and artwork. You may submit work in multiple genres, however.


We will accept 3 – 5 poems for review. If you are submitting multiple poems, please include them all in one document rather than multiple files.

Short Stories/Novel Excerpts

We accept short stories in varying lengths up to 5,000 words. Shorter works are more likely to find spot in print. If you have a longer piece that you’re dying to have published, send it and we’ll consider serializing it either in print or on our website.


We accept personal essays and non-fiction up to 3,000 words. We’re looking for pieces that focus on positive or thought-provoking experiences, but will consider any well-written essay.


You may submit up to 5 pieces of visual art. All artwork must be submitted electronically in JPEG or GIF format with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Our print publication is in black and white, except for cover artwork. Minimum uncompressed file size of: 48MB. Maximum compressed file size of: 25MB. Please send files exceeding 25MB via Yousendit, a free large-file sending program.

Youth Submissions

Writers under 18 must download, print, and send in the permission form found here. All signed permission forms should be sent to APIARY, 801 Greenwich St, Philadelphia, PA 19148.


We’re a non-profit, self-funded publication. Your compensation will come in the form of a copy of APIARY, a bio in the print magazine and a link to your portfolio, website, or blog on All rights revert to the writers once published. Additional print copies are $5 each. We believe in literature out loud. If your work is chosen for publication, you’ll be asked to participate in a live reading. For this reason we’d prefer writers from the Philadelphia area."

Thursday, February 3, 2011


We bring the occupation home with us.
Occupation inside my head,
Occupation inside your head;
The tour never ends, does it?
We just sit and live and try and fight and feel like
Strangers inside of our bodies,
Not thinking about what we are doing
Holistically, in entirety.
We drink and feel alone and crave others to
Join our occupation of our souls,
Like company can desensitize the wounds,
Can make the occupation less harsh -
We need battle buddies to drink with and watch movies with and
Play x-box or playstation inside our
Occupied hearts.

We bring the occupation home with us.
Setting up enemy camp inside our rib cage,
Within our skulls,
Occupying ourselves like strangers, hostile
To our own cause.
Hostile to my cause,
And hostile to your cause,
When will we withdraw?
And let our souls live free again?
And let our hearts breathe again?
And let our minds speak again?

If we bring the occupation home with us,
Then we never really come home.

I want to go home.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warrior Writers Chicago Workshop

Hey everyone,

There wil be a Warrior Writers workshop this Friday January 21st at 7pm at the Chicago IVAW office at 3411 W. Diversey.

This will be the first of two workshops before we take up residency at the Mess Hall in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood) in February for a few weeks. We'll be kicking that off with an art opening/reading event on February 19th. If you would like to get involved with Warrior Writers Chicago, come to the workshop or contact Pete, Iris, or Jim.