Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Why I Fight for Peace - A poem by Iraq War Veteran Cloy Richards

Last night, D.C. Poets Against the War was privileged to participate in a panel on artists' response to the war at Busboys & Poets. Organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, the panel to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq was chaired by DC PAW's Melissa Tuckey and featured soldier-poet Cloy Richards. Family demands meant I couldn't stay for the open mic, so I went on line to find Cloy's poetry and post one here. Prepare to have your heart broken.

by Cloy Richards USMC

Because I can’t forget no matter how hard I try.
They told us we were taking out advancing Iraqi forces,
But when we went to check out the bodies
they were nothing but women and children
desperately fleeing their homes because
they wanted to get out of the city
before we attacked in the morning.

Because my little brother, who is my job to protect,
decided to join the California National Guard
to get some money for college and
they promised he wouldn’t go to Iraq.
instead three months after enlisting
he was sent to Iraq for one year.

Since he has been home for the last six months,
he refuses to talk to anyone, he lives by himself.
the only person he associates with is a friend of his,
the one other man out of his squad of thirteen men
who made it home alive.

He called me a few weeks ago for the first time
And told me he’s having nightmares.
I asked what they were about and
He said they’re about picking up the pieces
Of his fellow soldiers after a car bomb hit them.

Because every single one of the Marines I served with,
the really brave warriors, even when some friends
and people
they looked up to got killed or lost an arm or leg,
they wouldn’t cry, they just kept fighting.
They completed their mission.

Every one of them I have spoken to since we got
has broken down crying in front of me,
saying all they can do since they got back
is bounce from job to job, drink and do drugs,
And contemplate suicide to end the pain.

Because I’m tired of drinking, bouncing from job to job
and contemplating suicide to end the pain.

Because every time I see a child,
I think of the thousands I’ve slaughtered.
Because every time I see a young soldier,
I think of the thousands Bush has slaughtered.
Because every time I look in the mirror
I see a casualty of the war.

Because I have a lot of lives I have to make up for,
the lives I have taken and
Because it’s right.
That’s why I fight.
Because of soldiers with wounds you can’t see.

Read more of Cloy's poems here: http://www.grassrootsamerica4us.org/CloysStory.html. You can read the moving words of his mother, Tina Richards, at this site as well.

Maybe Cloy could write a poem about the two little children left to die in the back of a car bomb in Baghdad today - guess you all think that is the fault of Bush too.
It's a lovely poem, Sarah. I live in Malaysia, which is a muslim country.

Long ago, during 911, a lot of us on the other side of the globe rushed online to offer the Americans our sympathy and support. Just 6 years later, the American government has managed to alienate the rest of the world.

The prevailing reaction is: They deserved it (911).

The terrorists are never supposed to be the heroes, but the American government, along with its British and Australian allies has managed to martyr and immortalise the wicked and ruthless Muslim fundamentalists.

Which is what makes me wonder if it was about terror in the first place. 'Terror' is simply the excuse for pillaging oil.

Check out my site and maybe leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you. :)
found your blog via the boxcar poetry review and wanted to say hello. i have the anthology you did, and i hope to frequent your blog more. best wishes & peace.
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