758 In A Theatre Parking Lot 4-7-18

I knew he was my brother
when I saw him in tears
standing in a theatre parking lot
where a movie of war
and its unforgiven sins
tore him,
sheared him,
skinned him,
yanked him back to deeds
that were the sown seeds
of a harvest of horrors
in a far-off,
God forsaken place
where fire burned the skies
and bullets and shrapnel,
like horse flies
flew around his eyes
and men died
and women cried
or wished they had died
and a child, arms wide open,
as her skin peeled off.

I knew he was my brother,
but a lost one,
one torn from the breasts
of our Mother
by a war that changed men to beasts,
bastards of that whore who
maimed many,
scared all
and spared none.
And he was one of that,

ruined generation,

standing by his car,
holding the roof,
for the only support
he could find,
the only port
in the storm
he could never escape.

Once again,
his heart rend,
and bled,
his scars ripped open
and all he hoped for was
that he might die.

I walked by,
but heard him cry
and recognized him for
who he was.
I went to him,
open armed.
He fell into my hug,
his twisted mug
shot through with pain.
He hung on me,
desperate not to fall,
defeated by his shame.

I didn’t need to know his name.

I whispered as he racked and shook,
“I’ve got you, brother!
I’ve got you!
Let it go!
Let it go.
let it…”

And he did
and did
and did.

after forever,
he calmed.
I felt his weight lighten
in my arms.
His breaths came slower.

I asked,
“Are you OK?”

He answered,
“I’ll never be OK,
but I’m good for now.”

I said,
“Don’t do something stupid, now.
Don’t look for a gun.
Just don’t.”

He said,
“I won’t.
But I can’t feel
free of it.

“Do you need a drink?
A meal, on us, there,
at the Diner across the street?”

My wife,
standing behind us,
“Yes? Please! Come.”

“No, man, no.
I’ll just go.
I’ll be OK.

“Nothing stupid tonight.”


“A promise right?
To a comrade in arms?”

(There, I lied.”)

“I promise.”

He smiled a sad, crooked smile,
slid into the drivers seat,
started the engine
and fled.

At best he wasn’t dead.

I staggered to my wife
and held her.
Held on for dear life.

I wonder now
what’s become of him.
And if he’s kept his promise.

And if he would care,
about my lie.
Just another sin for
the benediction
after our mass together
the beginning of his,

Nothing I can say.

I pray.

About Ken Greenman

Married and Happy. Retired and busy. Living in NC. 71 and counting. December 12, 2020 and it's 72! ... I would love some written comments, critiques, adulation or kind suggestions.... If you have the time and or inclination, please feel free! Not in fear but by faith. We will see. See you later! If you ever want to talk for real, email me and I will send you my cell number.... I am enjoying this!
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1 Response to 758 In A Theatre Parking Lot 4-7-18

  1. Marlene Torres says:

    Poem 758 was beautiful, and it really happened didn’t it? I could see it happening by just reading it.

    Yes it sounds like you, the one that comes to the rescue.

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