Can you see me?

by Pamela Merchant
(Edgewater, Florida)

I see you, but you can’t see me,
These wounds of war won’t let me be
If only you knew what this war has done
Always on guard, trying to find my gun!
Always worrying, always in fear
What was that? What’s that over there?

Did you hear that whistle? Oh, it’s just his breaks…
Did you hear that boom? That one gave me the shakes…
Do you see that, the trash in the road?
Oh G-d, please don’t let it explode….

You are scared that I may lose it, I’m unstable and crazy
But the real problem is you’re the one that is stupid and lazy.
If you read the research and checked the facts
You will find that it is you, not I, which lacks.
I have been trained; I’m a well-oiled machine,
But look at you so proper and clean.

I’m a byproduct of death and destruction, I have stared it in the face
I have killed and watched people die; what a fucking disgrace.
I have held my friends hand because that was all that was left
I have fought and bleed, I have cried and I have wept

So NOW you see me for the person I am, the person I was forced to become.
Yes I volunteered to serve my country; the call to duty is only for some.

I did not ask for the disgust in your eyes when you see me on the street
I did not fight and lose people so you can stomp our flag with your feet.
I did not ask for the TBI or the PTSD that has begun to ruin my life
I never asked for this to affect me, my kids or my wife.

All I ask is for a little understanding, for people to educate themselves
To understand that my reactions have become hardwired, I can’t always control myself.
Please understand that I cannot function on a daily basis like normal people can; I am anything but.
I have survived the worst mankind can throw at a person and have done it with my mouth shut.
The fireworks you shoot to celebrate this country are the same shots I hear in my dreams at night
I left Iraq, why must I continue to fight this fight?

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