War Letters (edited)

  (Image origin unknown)

June 17th

Dearest – Anastasia,

I wonder if the military reads letters

Before they let them through?

I’ve always wondered that

Out here

You wouldn’t want a bad letter

But what would constitute a ‘bad’

Damned if I know….

When you’re young and just going in

You are told everything to expect and what to do

But out here….

You’re on your own

The guys

They talk a lot about their girls

About what they’re gonna do

When we get home

About fucking

Taking prostitutes in foreign cities

All the shit

But when it all comes down to the line

What you want…

Is that last night

You want it back

Where I had you for a couple of hours

And we waited for morning


That’s what we want

And we want all of this to be over

And we’re afraid of

What this will make us

What we’re becoming

What if I can’t be that close again?

And that line isn’t the heated battle

You’re a machine in that moment

The line

Is the nightmare of midnight in hell

Black as pitch

No sound

No sight

The air still as a plate

And you have no idea what the other guy is doing ….

All you have is a pulse

And a memory

There was one private younger than me,average like any of us.

Always waiting for a moment to write
his fiancé.

Yesterday he got a letter from home

Her home was hit by a storm…

There were no survivors.

I have no idea what came over him,

He just started walking

Straight to the line

Gunfire all around him.

Like pop rocks.

We jumped him and held him down -screaming-

His eyes were dead but he kept clawing at his face.

Every ounce of purpose was gone from that man.

We sent him back to psych…

I don’t know

I think we should probably not let letters through like that

I think,
If we do,

Please don’t let me know about it

I was just wondering ….


It’s midnight

I can’t say much of anything else

But I hope you are ok

Thanks for writing…

I’ll send this through

If I don’t get another chance to write .

Yours. Always 


 Aug 12th 


I don’t have but a few minutes..to get a line in..


I’m standing here on the deck

Somewhere off the coast of the Philippines …

I can see every star.

But you’re my north

Were I able,

I’d reach out 

Just to pick the one that you’re looking at and ask it to shine a little brighter and let you know …

I’m here,

I’m still here

Writing you.

I’m here.

I saw a comet.Pulsating and bright and then it dropped. 

Like your neckline …

I remember you,I remember your lips …pulling mine…

I remember your accent gentle like the water…

your hair like lavender.

You biting my shoulder and laughing ‘Sex on heels ‘

That’s what I called you…

I would that I could

Follow that comet to the edge of the Galaxy

Spelling sensual words

Along your waist…

Burning,layer by layer..

Down your inner thighs…

jusqu’à ce que je découvre chaque langue que vous chantez dans

(until I discover each language you sing in)

This is what the water has made me…

And I miss you…


Aug 15th 

Dearest –A

I read your letters

Don’t worry

It takes so long to get them out here

It’s a different feeling being this far out…almost difficult to believe that we are even at war…

But it is what it is…

I was thinking about

What you said about

J the other night

The world isn’t going to be this way

Not Forever,A.

He’s innocent

And vulnerable

But it’s more than that

Like you said …

It’s a perspective of the world

And people

How you look at things

And interact with them

I don’t want him

To think he has to change because

Of someone picking him apart
I don’t want him to

Dismiss things

As “bad things just happen sometimes”

I want him to know

That his interaction and reaction mean something.

Especially his art.

It can go

Where a single person can’t.

Where we can’t

It’s an expression that is important

The world won’t be this way forever

Maybe there will be a day

Or a year

When we stop writing

When we stop painting

When we stop feeling

When we watch our brothers

Live in misery

Or die on their feet

And we will not be moved

But it’s not this day

Or this year

And that’s why I’m here


As long as

We look after our children

Like J,

Tomorrow won’t be that day either.

I’ll write soon

love, Charlie

Sept 3rd 


Do you remember

Staying in the flat, for three days,eating pepperoni and drinking red wine?

I had said this must be what a king feels like

And you laughed asking why?

And I told you about grits

And biscuits

We passed through a small town very much the same ….

The streets were empty

And the windows boarded

I couldn’t help but think about it…

It brought me a kind of surreal

I can’t do much else

Other than wish you

A happy birthday

I hope this reaches you soon.

Love, Charlie


 keep writing

I’m getting your letters

Every word

In time…

October 17th 

la couleur de rien

Is there a color for nothing?

for this feeling?

you rearranged me

I’m afraid we’ll never be together

I poured my grief

Into the violin and the piano …

I looked for you in the Keys

I looked for you in the bedroom,

I looked for you in the gentle

Shadows of others dancing

but I could not find you

The shadow

In my heart

Write to me,Your love.


Nov 1st


I separate from myself

See the fields filled with ash

See the hearts filled with stone


I see us moving

Inside the light

And shadows

Emptying chambers

In our guns

In silence

Picking out

The fragments

After bombing a city

We can’t choose,Anastasia

We can’t choose what revelation

Comes our way

But I saw

The words

I hear the hymn

In the back of my mind

And I hope that after

Ten thousand years

We will be there

We will make it right

I hope that I come together


I hope that

We won’t drag each other

Out in the streets

I hope that we won’t

See what evil one man

Can put on another man

I hope …

That we come back

And then

We somehow

Remember how to live.

How to love you



I feel as though

We only know how to…

How to destroy humanity

I know we should be keeping it safe

But it’s like this

One city

We stayed in

They’d had all their medical workers


After a blackout

These were sent to the military…

Just before we got there

One of ours slept with a woman during post …

He really just raped her

I have no better context,
I’m sorry

He was apparently drunk

But beside the point

Having no Doctors

No medical personnel

Within hundreds of miles

On the day we were leaving

She came out watching us

Pulled a revolver

And shot the Soldier

In the face …

This is what war does to us

Collapsing in the streets

Our hopes

Of a better tomorrow

They’re fleeting

And vague .

And I am so tired.

I am so tired.

I wish I had better

I wish I had better

I wish there were words

For this

That left us…

Closer together.

So just say my name

Write about the taste of food

Tell me about color

Because all I see

Is gray

All I see is black

And I can’t lift it.


November 26  
I understand your darkness,Charlie 

It’s quite alright

The world is

Coming apart

The governments are

Blacklisting families

Anyone who helps these families

Are black listed

And refused any help as well

On top of this

Marriages like ours

Are taking forever

To file for immigration

Because it’s us

With the Americans

They won’t outright defy America

But they will

Take their time

Some women have been waiting

For years …

We fear we will never leave this place ….

I feel like this most

At night

I feel this gray

But for color…Charlie

I saw a girl yesterday

She made me think of you

She was cleaning the kitchen

And couldn’t get a spot to come out

Her mother shook her head

“Use some elbow grease!”

I came back in from reading

And laughed

She was looking hysterically

Through the kitchen

And asked
“I can’t find the elbow grease

Where do we keep it?”

Think of me Charlie

Think of me

Next to you

in the morning

In our flat

Tangled together

Limb for limb


With wine

It’s almost Christmas

I can’t help but romanticize the snow

I can’t help but write you

Letter for letter

You will come back to me


There will always be shadows


I will love you, even in blindness

And if your hands have scarred

I will remind them

Of their maps

On my skin

Of how to touch me.

I will mend you.


journal entry

It’s cold outside

We suffer quietly inside

Glass homes

Their eyes are watching …

We haven’t

Slept in years

We suffer paper skin

And scars

Casualties of war

They occupied

Our city

Just long enough

To take us outside

Lining the street

And shoot the men

And leave us to weep

I watched the snow turn

A crimson red

I watched my breath turn to ice
I watched my brother

Die ….inside my arms

Who killed us

In this war?

The alternatives

Are hesitation marks

From me and you

Everything in time…

What else is there


journal entry 

I walk the city

I once knew

It fades

All around me


The people


The graves outside

I am hollowed

But I am looking

With anxious eyes

I can’t remember anything

Very clear

What is different ?

What’s the same ?

And then

At the end of the street

I see her

In the garden


Flowers in her hair

She brushes her

Stubborn strands out of

Her eyes

And my heart

It’s beating

I’m not as callous

As I feared

It’s not as dark as I believed


She is standing


Over there

Right there

And I am running now…

I am

Forgetting to breathe

Afraid that I will wake up

Before I touch her

I feel the earth

I see the people fading

I see her right there

I see her

I reach out

Her arms

Her lips

Her eyes

The salt of

Her tears

Her finger tips

This is real.

We are here.

– Charlie

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