August 31, 2009

troops in contact: a sound you never want to hear

getting our money’s worth
by Matt Freire

it’s interesting the things we don't say
the things that could make for stories
the things that lived through could make a profit
words cannot say all of the things
nor try to i
these things holding dear secular
if only penmanship could experience bring

there’s a creature in the distance
i feel its lurking presence
i sense its closed fists
with all senses
i feel its rage is incontinent
i smell its musk
it’s relentless
i taste its compassion
it’s irrelevant

stealth is key in the absence of speed
speed is key in absence

i sit in darkness
as the droplets of rain distort the night
i recap
i suck in
I’m holding
in the night

lightning hiding the thunder
and the explosions
and the awe spectacle of worthy display and recognition

what a day it was
what a day it could have been
so many days filled with what could have been
i have not dared to mention
nor fingertips or lips able

a lucky omen i am
such bullish thoughts are trifle and stupid
but for some unspeakable truth
it rings out
and we humans like truth

explosions rocket the convoy
as we leave our ops
i not knowing the time
or status
results in pulling security in the midst of battle
and i
not pursing moments that can be
or distantly capable of being observed by many

troops in contact
a sound you never want to hear
troops in contact
a sound that brings new meaning when your right there

when you hear the boom
tenses your toes on up
when you hear the vibrations
clench every orifice shut
and feel the danger
of what's going on
fills the mind’s chambers
indescribable is this fever
but yet fulfills me
in every way much deeper

troops in contact
we unload to secure
the distant sound muffled
in the rain and recording of prayer
attentive vigilance calms the night air
rifle and crew served weapons
that filled my day's air
doesn't release the could have been

should i be
a question everyone asks
glad i am
that this day un-lived we did pass

Task Force Khowst soldier aids an Afghan man after his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the Khowst province of Afghanistan Aug. 28th, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED )

August 29, 2009

Someone this turkey is overdone

Top Notch
By Matt Freire

This one wants to act but lacks the power to
This one has the power but acting doesn’t suit
And this piece of shit i don’t know anything about you
What the hell am i gonna do with all of you
The job is simple and you make it tough
I don’t get it, it’s too easy i got you all the stuff
You need to stop smiling you, i’ve had it up to here
You all make my heart hurt
I need a smoke i’ll be out side
Okay boss we'll get it done
Someone this turkey is overdone
Throw it out and let the dogs devour
the nights full of hunger

she wanted my agony

jocular glower
by Matt Freire

And i don't know about you but i got this little thing to do
And i’m gonna take my time when i talk about this
Because last time we talked you left me with a razor blade kiss

I was laying down only wearing her and i didn't feel naked at all
She mounted up
I felt alive like
intertwined turbine electricity generators
conducting enough power
as to run all the wrist watches in the world
and i lost track of time

And i started sweating on her
her mouth like a respirator
breathing for me
hands like scalpels and retractors
and she makes her fingers as surgical scissors
and she cuts at my chest
exposing my heart

She wants to see my agony
this unbeknown till now to me
that her cunning ways only swell
to the proliferating of my agony

her lips like hemostatic forceps
she wanted trauma
like a third degree burn
the slow cancer spreads
her words made out like a troemner hammer
checking my reflexes she swings
and i'm clamped blood hardly moving

i like to think
I am i double m you n e
But it stings just a bit when you consistently...
when you constantly...
my sanity is definitely defiant
yet i keep my tyrant self in a cage
because you never know when you have to take it off the shelf

she wanted my agony
and she knew how to get it
so as a life line i call out to god
and at this she smiles
and incises my ears away as to not hear a response
then sews them to my palms
as if this is a genuine favor
she says this is my surgery

You have a god complex i yell at her
she says i have a weak god
and cuts out my tongue
and sews it to my wrists
so i can taste the time
and taste my last drip

she wanted my agony
I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, i got dropped off
she was getting mad because i was eating from her private stock
i know that shit was hers but i know it tastes the finest
but she just likes me to ride sitting starving next to fulfillment
she would rather me walk then tell me why
but i know why i could see it in her eyes
she wanted agony
yet all i have is pride
I'm a simple minded man
who she should have never let inside

i’m now unstitched
sewn freakishly Fighting
the tide of blood spill
Swimming upstream like a solo seasoned trout
who takes a swift paw
and now i reside in the belly of a grizzly bear
i cannot bear a transaction like this
i cannot stand to let this medical malpractice

Pull it off slowly
Don't look at me!
see you don't look at me
and don't just stand there move around like it’s fun
Why is that still on
turn around
Now those have to go as well
take it off
see i see you
see you don't look at me
Don't look at me!

i’m full of agony i just don’t like to show it
i’m compromised with doubt
i’m ingested with dilemmas
i’m suffocated exhalation
she wanted my agony
and she was willing to go the distance to get it
and she pulled it out kidney stone like
if pain was her goal
she fulfilled it
but see
if she just would have asked
i would have given it to her freely

rifle pop shots and I belt out screams

Pulsing Stake
By Matt Freire

Step stepping steps of distress that arrest the congested chest
that strips off vests and the rest of this mess
moves out west to stake claims and to find some of that sweet internets
I heard they got some out California way
Around these parts they done 'n dried up

So I grab my mead and feed my gallant steed
the skeezey journeymen are menacing
but I’m more mean
rifle pops shots and I belt out screams
and squeeze their life’s dreams
All in search of these internets

Information highway my display is flickering away
as I surf without getting wet but a debt could be picked up in this quest
as I ingest pages of url dot com turf blurbs
of whatever I could question is answered with a click
wrist skip spam handle this with blood shot retinas
viruses infected Trojans are opposite of fun

channel change digits
change newscasters illiterate static midgets
set themselves on fire
as i huff ‘n puff this house is made of blades
star spangle this razor cuts finger
cuts knuckles
cuts sitcoms and commercials
plug it in
turn it on
snappy nurses and foreign fishermen's liberation
sit down the change
sit down the change
but never blink
and the mind is gone
circuit crucified
my mind hangs 999 channels wide
flip on its hind end
but nothing’s playing
but eyes are stained straining
glaring changing
various murk this Astro turf needs a mow
weeded cinderblock sidewalks
the overt mustard seed needs to grow

I’m like a pulsing stake
Meat flavored bubble gum with a shot of hot sauce
Liquid snakes the drain
ankles angled asinine
pacified the remote
turn the volume up i can’t hear you
over the sound of my pulsing heart

turn it on
wonder from
pulse movement catapults direct
pause static interference

August 27, 2009

the character you know won't make it

redshirt #7
by Matt Freire

this is a nonversation
a completely worthless conversation
where nothing is illuminated
or explained
yet there’s complications
of short durations
so jot this on paper
as i cobra yawn on my arm

woke with bite marks all over my flesh
bedbugs are real and exist in my bed
finger crumble the eye gunk
feel exhausted
even though i just woke
slept too much i suspect
i feel like the chip that broke in the dip
and i'm contemplating sending in the rescue ship
or leaving the broken chip in the dip

it helps manufacture outrage
sequestered as a minor stock character
to be a redshirt
cannon fodder
a plot slash character shield
a star trek expendable
the character you know won’t make it
the character you say out loud
hey check out redshirt
he’s gonna die

fact: redshirts die violently soon after being introduced

my mouth is angry
stuck caps lock voice
conscience comes into play
alt-tab’n life
i’ll just leave you in the inbox rot
doesn’t fix the inbox rot

the chip situation is still under mental contemplation

i just had a miss wave
nothing gets more embarrassing
but i swear i thought he was waving at me
then i realized i didn't know him
and then i saw the person behind me
flapping his wrist
and my head and ego just sank slightly below sea level

chip now too soggy to be described as a chip
but still contemplating the rescue

we've got a problem
but first of all there is no we
it’s just me
and for some reason i'm just angry
maybe it’s that time of the month
and as a wordsmith or teenager might say
i have manstration

fact: redshirts dramatize the dangerous situations
faced by the main characters by dying

i have destinesia
i arrived at where i intended to go
but forgot why i came here in the first place
and as a redshirt not liking my role
just below supporting cast
i say out loud
and i hear it bounce off the far walls
and fade
so i say again
but honestly i wouldn't know what James Kirk would do
he would probably pump the passenger brakes
and be beamed
directly to his quarters

August 24, 2009

The Second Presidential Election in Afghan History

Thursday, 20 August 2009 -- even though it might mean nothing

even though it might mean nothing

askar (pashto for soldier)
by Matt Freire

imagine an unstoppable force with massive death defying fire power and invincibility
that moves silently and unaware by all
a force that catches RPGs like footballs
and IED are like pop rocks in the mouth
imagine how you would feel walking with this force in a hostile war zone
they would be the war zone
imagine those sons of bitches war faces
the harden intimidating lines sun dirt and salt sliced and engraved fear
the narrowed eyes of reality and the horrors unimagined
where if your eyes locked theirs your eyes would never blink again
where just the slightest glance of them and it feels like paper cuts on the retina
the nostrils that don’t even curl
at the scent of death
because that’s all the mouth breathes
their spit is as acid and puts crater size
holes in the ground
imagine their presence as rain runs away from them
as life turns to dust with their touch
where battle is no more stress than digesting an apple for lunch

well i did eat an apple today as part of my lunch
left over naan that’s been sitting in a trash bag harvesting larva
and fresh chai out of dirty glasses
and i smile because
it’s honestly delicious

16 venture on foot
through human-filled streets of uncertainty
5 us soldiers and 10 afghan fighters
and a camera
making our presence known
to all sides
to those that would walk up and blow themselves up and see if you want to go with them
to those that would walk up and say "what it up maan" and give you a thumbs up
thousands of faces
all fitting the possible
millions of pieces of trash
all being explode-able

nerve-racking it should have felt but
overwhelmed with opportunity
i felt only enjoyment

eye witnessing history is moving
knowing it's happening
seeing it happen

i witness great change
people voting in a combat environment
people voted even though the taliban put out deadly threats
even though there lives could end
even though it might mean nothing
i never really cared about voting till that day
i saw a man that i have been fighting along side
an afghan man who is in the task force khowst
he doesn't wear a face mask like most of these guys
even though he is from this area
even though it puts his family in danger close
inspiring man
inspiring people
i've come to respect the people
i've come to respect the culture
i've come to love the food

the week of afghan elections i spent in a russian-built structure
located down town khowst city afghanistan
we called it malaria inn
in the heart of the city
a blood pumping
two minute walk from the Mosque
a blood pumping
two minute walk to the market
a blood pumping
longest two minute walk you could ever take
a blood stopping
possible shortest two minute walk
and we walk
almost daily
and we would stop and talk to locals
through the medium of an interpreter
Del-tah-koom day terror-ee-stah-noh pa bah-rah-kee kha-bar la-ray?
Know anything about terrorist here?

we are looking for them

an afghan national police officer got short with our interpreter and laughed at him
our ’terp doesn't take shit from no one
slapped the ANP in the face and took his Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova
and took his smile
and for those that don’t know the RPK is a gas operated rotating bolt light weight machine gun
capable of firing six hundred 7.62mm rounds a minute
i’m surprised he didn’t kill him
our ’terp has been around
was part of the force fighting against russia
he was an opium smuggler for three years going into pakistan
but that got too dangerous
and he became part of a resistance
the resistance force he was in of 40 persons
only 14 are still alive
fighting taliban
he now has been working with U.S. special forces for 9 years
the stories his eyes have seen
a man from looking you would have no idea
looking you would think not capable
wrong answer
he is more than capable

that unstoppable force exists
it’s real
as real as dreams are real

waass-lah wah-chah-wah!
drop your weapons!
lah-soo-nah porta-kah!
hands up!
no talking
no talking

(1) pashto is the main language in the area i'm in

singing i'm in love with a woman

the will wonders
by Matt Freire

vibrations echo on metallic cold ones and zeros
the soft sweaty sound of a lost boat rower
static channels mute the reality
it’s out there or is it in front of me?

and where is
the head bone
that is connected to the
retractable arm synapse controlled by cockpit
laser guided coordination biblical
instrument panels short circuit and get rewired
bypassing the mainframe
re-frame the rise of the heart beat
watching countless hungry heads nod whisper and judge
to what they think should be
not to be done up by factious foundries
a swarm gathers armed and ferrous
falsely flattered with cock and bull rhetoric
the prophecy was written a thousand three hundred and seventy one years ago in a book now burned
that no one read
because a woman wrote it

and she was found to be the weight of a goose
and like witches found in that time she burned
but she actually couldn't read or write
she was just in the wrong time
working in the wrong job
clothing the dead
dressing them up presentable
and on one day she was redressing a dead man
who jumped up to declare
the sky is falling
the sky is falling
the sky is falling because men are pushing on it from above
and fire will not change minds

and one eyewitness turned into several
and the news spread like disease
and she was thought to be a witch
calling out they did
not letting dead men be dead men
she’s evil
she unnatural

but really she exclaimed he was not dead in the slightest
he was just knocked out drunk
but men in those times didn't speak the same language as women
and she was bound and burned

and a noble man’s cries could be heard in these times
singing i'm in love with a woman
i am in love with a most wonderful woman
she is the heat that started the sun
the wind that controls the tides
if i lost her i would shortly die
because i
i am in love with a woman
i am in love with a most wonderful woman
i am just waiting for the day when we are introduced

and the glass is left indecisive

countless heads bob in cataclysmic reverberation
a squint of events dancing indiscriminate
the blast in the street wakes the dreamers
and seeing contorts believing
and the deaf start hearing screams and misfortune
the sighted go blind by callous peers
scabs build on scabs
as gritting teeth operate the controls
new games are played by rules no one is informed of

the needs now become undistinguished by the passing of time
the air saturated by polluted nostalgia
old fads blossom
the future mirage the past
and more time elapses into
eye score
carpel tunnel
and ecstasy overdose

sometimes there are not enough rocks

Haiku: there are 17 syllables
by Matt Freire

You only lose that ignorance after you gain that experience

If feeling real stupid is normal then I must be really normal

Sitting on a flight line all damn day sometimes there are not enough rocks

Life is so fast and so complex what happens when it finally slows down

I drink hot sauce not because I like it but because it looks so cool

That last one was a lie I like hot sauce I just can’t stomach hot stuff

Potential to be notable potential to not note anything

I want a mortar to go through my ceiling because I like sun roofs

The best part of my birthday in Afghanistan was killing hot sauce

It’s cool when I sweat it keeps me cool but it doesn’t make me look cool

I almost blew up today actually I didn’t even come close

I lay in bed needing to pee but telling myself I can hold it

Farting in a zipped up sleeping bag not always the best idea

I wish mentally I could scratch my head, mentally I can’t do it

My shoulder is knocked out of place and it hurts

The strangest thing happened but it stopped abruptly

Birthdays are better in Afghanistan when no one around you knows

Can you all in the back hear me legibly?

Being in the army and in combat gives you strange characters and situations that occasionally spawn unique verbal discharge. Here is a collection of some of the madness I’ve heard since being here. Some I’ve heard before but this environment gives new meaning to the phrases. I thought you might enjoy.

"I look more hoo-ah from a distance."
Soldiers coming in off a mission were greeted by some high ranking officer, I think a Lt. Col. He told a group of soldiers they looked tired and said, "You don't want the enemy thinking you’re tired now, do ya?" The response was "I look more hoo-ah from a distance," to which the brass had no response.

"I can’t fart with any confidence."
This quote was spawned by the horrid stomach jihad on a coalition soldier.

"60 pounds of light weight shit is still 60 pounds."
This was a 240 gunner’s response to a platoon leader who said, “It won’t be bad. It's only a few kilometers and you only have to take your light weight shit with you.”

"Did you get anything good?"
I’m sure every combat camera soldier has heard this. A POA (Public Affairs Officer) asked me about my photos right after Smitty and I were talking about how after every mission we go on someone is bound to ask if we got any good photos.

"If you have any issues grab a tissue."
A medic told me this when I got the stomach jihad.

“Can you all in the back hear me legibly?”
I was in an operation brief and as I was falling asleep when this line woke me up.

“The situational situation."
This was from the same guy at the same op brief.

“I need water like JFK needed Kevlar."
I heard this during a hot, sweaty dismounted patrol in the markets of Khowst city.

“Get you wetter then water."
I heard a genius mutter this after an air assault; he was referring to a body function in his body armor.

"Some days there are not enough rocks."
I was sitting with the FTF waiting in Sharana for a bird to pick us up and we waited for hours, birds coming and going without us and this soldier was sitting there throwing rocks for a good twenty minutes when he said this. I thought it was funny. Maybe because I was tired or maybe it’s how he said it. Think Forrest Gump.

“You hang with dogs you get fleas."
A soldier referring to people who house Taliban fighters then complain that we raid their house and detain them.

"If you fart again there is going to be a Dustwun part 2."
Locked up in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protectant vehicle for 4 hours with 5 soldiers, MRAPs are good for protection from the outside assaults but not good protection from what's on the inside. Dustwun was an operation looking for a soldier who decided to go for a nature walk and got captured by the Taliban.

"The good thing about being a medic is you feel no pain."
A medic told me this when I had stomach jihad.

August 22, 2009

I have nothing to say

You can own skipping stones or you can throw them
by Matt Freire

He spit out what he ate
And tacked on an H
Now he’s a big man
Now he talks tough
He spits a confetti of hate
Verbal graffiti covers his world like used condoms
Dripping lube and tears
Blood and innocence
Masking insecurities
But I
I have no words to say

She sharpens her daggers
On the edges of every person she meets
She builds up her defenses
So no man can infiltrate
Now she's locked and loaded
Now she's fine tuning her sights
For that pitiful twit to say something
Anything and he's overrun like cancer
Everything causes cancer

Maybe cancer is the cause of everything
Anyway he's dead
Not breathing
And laying there cold he doesn’t even have a smile
Just nothing
And I
I have nothing to say

But plenty in my generation have something to say
Have you ever though that this is the generation that will make a difference
Make a change
On a global scale
For the better
This generation
My generation
Has the ability and the tools
The know how
And the desire
In my life time already my generation has witnessed more change then any other generation in history
And the changes have just begun
An my life has just begun
And I have a front row seat
But I get up to go to the concession stand because I have a sweet tooth
The show has already started
But I know I can just go online
On the internet and recap what I’ve missed
See the world second hand
Live life second hand

Yet I
My tongue is tied
Because I'm a second hand man
In a second hand life
Eating second hand food
With a second hand spoon
Seconds I will have
Because one isn’t as good as two

U.S. Army Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team 25th Infantry Division, Focus Targeting Force, wait for the CH-47 Chinook helicopter to conclude an air assault mission to search the Khowst province of Afghanistan during Operation Champion Sword on Aug. 5, 2009. Operation Champion Sword is a joint operation involving Afghanistan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Forces focused on specific militant targets and safe havens within Sabari and Terezai Districts of Khowst province in eastern Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED)

foolish thoughts of battle and his part in it

Press Play
by Matt Freire

The kid unknowing is what the story is about
Keeps moving even though he doesn’t know what he's doing
The kid has lots of foolish thoughts of battle and his part in it
These thoughts don’t come true
Eat that and tell me if it tastes true
He learns a lot
Has little to talk about
Or chooses to keep muffled, to quiet his words
Does what he can
Tries to make an honest living doing an honest days work
This is not the normal soldier
This is not the normal Afghan war story you hear about
It's actually quite boring and uneventful
No one hears about the wait
No one talks about the wait
People only want action in this information world
Luckily he has some cool dreams to make him feel alive
Movies, he watches more movies in a month then he would in three in the real world
The quality of the movies he watches diminishes
Not only in actual video quality but in cinematic directorial quality
Movies that go straight to video
Movies that should never be made
Movies that were forgotten for a reason
He sits now in a sf camp secluded from the rest of the war and plays guitar in the mwr as he watches movies

Task Force Khowst guards military age males during a raid on a suspected insurgent safe haven as part of Operation Cohort, Aug.11, 2009. Operation Cohort is a joint operation involving Task Force Khowst and Coalition Forces that focus on specific militant targets and safe havens within Khowst province in eastern Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED )

August 9, 2009

He moves to combat ... Where words escape him

"Speaker for the Dead" (1)
By Matt Freire

So who is this guy?
He born in 1985
He sits and plays alone with legos
He loved trampoline sleep overs

He junior high
He loud mouth
He not one to back down
He gets beat down frequently
He blew air bubbles in toilet water
He knows the inside of trash cans
He cries

He Eagle Scout
He participated in many charitable events
He church goer
He rode unicycle, played piano and drew
He wondered and questioned
He had things he wished he knew

He reached high school
He experienced life
He consumed copious amounts of illegal substances

He black sheep
He troubled
He depressed
He blackens tooth on college guy’s fist

He hospitalize tall kid
He gets kicked out of school district
He deviant
He self medicated
He depressed

He skateboarded, played guitar and painted
He razor blood
He wondered if he would make it

He discovers words
He relies on spell check
He the worst speller he knows
He smoked his schooling
He felt alone

He meets a girl
He joins the army in 2004
He forgets words
He journeys off to experience more

He travels Europe
He spends two months in hospital
He loses kidney
He now runs funny
He marry
He divorce
He church no shower
He find new course

He drowns in worldly ways
He moves up and down
He has had better days
He moves to combat
He learns new experiences
Where words escape him

(1) Note: Orson Scott Card's novel "Speaker for the Dead" dealt with finding the truth of a person's life and telling that story after his or her death. I acknowledge his title, his phrase, which I use for my title. I thank him for his truth-telling concept resonating in me as the best way to memorialize someone.

Me with Afghan child.

Survival of the fittest but I’ll never leave a fallen comrade

By Matt Freire

I have never ever written a haiku how's this is it all right

I’m not quite sure how these are suppose to go or what they are used for

I drink bottles and bottles of water and it still looks just like tang

Hot water tastes really good when you are extremely dehydrated

Fat people are harder to kidnap that is why I eat like I do

Survival of the fittest but I’ll never leave a fallen comrade

The way my food crumbles reminds me of the manner my mind mumbles

There can be a nasty taste in my mouth and my toothbrush does not help

Climb a mountain of human poop and I still will smell worse then you do

I live for those sudden moments that I can immediately pass

Everyone needs to hate on someone that’s why I hate on porta jons

Do not look too surprised when I slap you in the face with a haiku

I like funny words like moisturizer is Jergens extra healing

Why do air raid sirens seem to always alert us after the fact

Breaking your nose can hurt just as bad as spitting food in a guys face

What is a haiku, if you can figure it out I'll give you a treat

He told me the liquor made him piss his pants but I knew otherwise

Stop snitching because that will make all of our lives closer to the end

Look how racist we crackers are don’t crumble me up in your hot soup

I do prefer jelly on my toast but jam is a good substitute

I wish I made sense to you but I could never make sense to myself

U.S. Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, wait for the CH-47 Chinook to land so they can depart from an air assault mission to search the Khost province of Afghanistan during Operation Champion Sword on Jul. 28, 2009. Operation Champion Sword is a joint operation involving Afghanistan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Forces focused on specific militant targets and safe havens within Sabari and Terezai Districts of Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED)

It seems like a case of fraud waste and abuse

Freedom Fighters
By Matt Freire

There is nothing I feel better about while in a war environment than being surrounded by obese, oxygen-stealing, chow-hall loitering soldiers.

Why are they here?
Why do I only see them in the d-fac?
What can they do besides suck plates full of processed dehydrated food?
How much money do we spend on these mouth breathing heifers?
It seems like a case of fraud waste and abuse.
I get so disgusted when I see them shovel fried chicken, yams, potato chips, pound cake, onion rings, dripping condiment smothered hamburgers, all washed down their gizzards by a cola all in one meal.
Today I saw one that I thought could never be.
You could take his top and use it as a table cloth for 8
Probably has never seen his legs or toes
Not even in photos
How in the world is it, when the army has implemented AR 600-9, that there are so many of these “special population” land whales?
It should be destruction of government property to be a fat body.
Now don’t get me wrong.
Civilians can eat all the fried ding dongs in the world,
Be so fat they engulf their couch
And need a hoist to get to the bathroom
And I wouldn’t care.
But I’m in a war environment!
People shoot at me and want me dead
And two ton teddy over there is scraping spaghetti
And stuffing dinner rolls and brownies in his pockets
It looks terrible on this, the greatest war super power in the world.
The greatest super-sized war machine this world has ever seen.
No wonder the Taliban hate us.
They are starving in there collats and caves and we have these gigantors that eat enough in a single meal to feed a war orphanage for a week.
We should sling-load these behemoths and drop them off in a collat system and let the locals masticate on some of that USDA prime beef.
And god forbid one gets shot and you have to litter carry one of these plentiful beasts to…well…anywhere would just suck!
I guess that’s why I never see them off the FOB.
Straight liability!
Straight pointless!
Straight waste!
Army strong with a chocolate cherry on top


An Afghan family in Sabari Afghanistan Jul. 28, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED)

August 5, 2009

Simple are my needs ... Complex can be my deeds

Simple man
By Matt Freire

I am soldier
I can run
I am soldier
My job is fun
I am soldier
Simple are my needs
I am soldier
Complex can be my deeds

I am human
I have tons of questions
I am human
Most I can never mention
I am human
Air I breathe
I am human
Simple words I speak

I is simple man
Sifting through this world
I is simple man
This weight I hurl
I is simple man
With little patience
I is simple man
With mild reverence

I am man
I have need
I am man
I can bleed
I am man
I eat a lot
I am man
But I’m not hungry

Pfc. Rodrigo Ximeno 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Focus Targeting Force (FTF), jokes with local Afghani kids in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan on 17 Jul. 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED)

Patience is gaining Preparedness sustained

Over comm info
By Matt Freire

The familiar double bleep echoes through the fob
And I halt
Pause the music and tune in my ears
Attention on the fob
Attention on the fob
Shamrock red
Shamrock red
Another one
That’s why they call this a war zone I suspect

Pre combat checks
Pre combat inspections
Kit set
Mind right
Stomach slightly bloated
Patience is gaining
Preparedness sustained
Hurry up and wait

Double bleep
Double bleep
Shamrock black
Shamrock black
Must be bad
This is only the second one I’ve heard in a month

Scratch my head
Turn the music back on
And tune in my ears

Pfc. Rodrigo Ximeno and Pfc. Branden Hazuka from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Focus Targeting Force (FTF), look at local farmers while they pull security on a landing zone during an air-assault mission to capture insurgents in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan on 17 Jul. 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / REVIEWED)

Words are all of ours yet they can just be mine

By Matt Freire

So I felt something I haven’t felt before
I have felt vulnerable before but this is a different feeling
Like you can read my mind and know my thoughts type of feeling
I wish I knew the words to articulate this vulnerability
Having my writings on-line for all to see is nerve-racking for me
I write for myself
I write for release
I write for sanity
I write for fun
I write so my family can see me for my real self

Words are special
They are all of ours yet they can just be mine
I find it fascinating
And the same time frustrating
That I can write something and it can have multiple meanings
One meaning for me
And completely different meanings for others

Fascinating in the fact that I didn’t think of it that way
And yes I can see how you could get that
I can’t even see how you got that from what I wrote
But ok

Frustrating because I didn’t intend for it to be construed that way
Or in that tone
But what can you do

I know that as humans we view everything in unique eyes
Eyes that have seen and experienced the world in different ways
Different horrors
Different shames
Different honors
Different laughs
And it only makes sense that I could write about anything
And it could be taken any which way
The same words could have their own unique meaning
To everyone whose eyes venture
And that is fascinating
And frustrating

I could write Soldier
And you could think mindless thrill seeking
Even though I could have been meaning
A person who selflessly sacrifices their time
Even their lives for their country
Their family

Words are so simple and so complicated like humans
And that’s what I love about humans
We are so random
Yet so deliberate
So educated
Yet so stupid
So ignorant
Yet so experienced

That vulnerability I feel
Is human
And it makes me feel good to know I’m still human
And vulnerable

A U.S. Army Soldier from the 4th Brigade Combat Team 25th Infantry Division, Focus Targeting Force, looks after detainees during an air assault mission to search the Khost province of Afghanistan during Operation Champion Sword on Aug. 2, 2009. Operation Champion Sword is a joint operation involving Afghanistan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Forces focused on specific militant targets and safe havens within Sabari and Terezai Districts of Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED)

I scrape more gunk out of my ear every night

Dropping a deuce in a porta-potty, in Afghanistan on a super freaking hot day
By Matt Freire

Not much more to say
That the title didn’t explain
But this is a historic event
And a horrific event
And I feel I must write about it

Nothing is worse than getting all kitted up
And it’s freaking hot
Hot like when you open the oven to check on the casserole
You step back and give that face hot
And you suddenly have the urge

First I tried to fit in the porta-potty with my gear on
Hold the breath
Temperature jumps up 13.7 degrees
Didn’t quite work out so well
Could barely turn around
Had a hard time getting the pants down
So I took a step back out side

Tricky this is
Drop the gear
Venture back in the fecal oven
Holding breath
Bleach burning the eyes
Weapon placed in the corner
Sweat pouring off my face
And I hover

Legs shaking
Light headed getting
Veins popping out my neck and forehead
Sweat pouring
And I grunt like a cave man
And I don’t know much about exorcisms
But I have a demon inside
And it’s killing me

Teeth wrenching
The demon is coming
An acorn size nugget lands on the mound of toilet paper

That’s it
I scrape more gunk out of my ear every night
What a waste
I feel like death
And the toilet paper keeps ripping apart due to how wet I am
You could pour a bucket of water on me and you wouldn’t know the difference

One freaking nug!

August 1, 2009

no way it can be much farther

lingering departure
by Matt Freire

Reflection in mud puddles
get rippled by zombie bodies
Heavy bags full of mobile war stations
Trudge along the wadi
Sun pasturing high burning off the fog
Mirage, images spatter the distance
Heat waved yetis just cart wheeled by
You’re leaking again the mental doc mutters
And I gulp down 115 degree water
You can make it the mental doc whispered
There’s no way it can be much farther
Few more clicks
clocked on the bottom of my soles
As these zombish machines continues to roll
My boots act like cooking pots
The slow roast of feet stir and scream
And I scuttle forward with the herd
My lips are like salt rocks
And my tongue is that of a cow’s
And I lick my cracked trenches
And I move and move
Dreaming of smoothies and the
California Ocean
My leakage starts to magnify
And momentary trails of salt dots
Line my just walked path
To be instantly evaporated
To instantly add to the humidity

Casually the zombies turn into heat casualties
A zombie to my right slips
MEDIC! Disrupts the silences
And the wobbling zombies make way
And the few that save lives our as gods
The I.V. drips and the teams move in position
Gun teams’ defilade
Tac sets set como with the rear and surroundings
Kiowa death birds flutter over head waiting, enticing
It’s still early, they might get the worm
Split the static comms’ interdict
Squads disperse in wedge
Formations appear in the distance
And I get my second wind
My corps becomes alive
As I visual document the synchronized assault
The pack moves in
Muscle memory takes effect
Cordon placed
The search swoops in with no resistance
Hajji tents inspected
Beds up turned
To find another miss direction
From yet another sham hajji informant

And we wait
For word on a bird or another objective
And few numbers switch on my watch
And my shadow decides he likes it on my other side
And at this point my job becomes selective
I hand out candy as afghan children grab my camera and try to steal my pen
I walk around making small talk with anyone who will listen
The medic tells me to drink water because I’m leaking profusely
I’m a soldier and the past 5 and a half years that’s all I know
But today I feel like a potato dropped in boiling oil
And my skin is blistering and cracking
At only 24 I feel really old
But I can’t figure out how to stop
So I drink water like I’m told
And I mold my melted power bar into a goat
And it entertains me as I wander around
I sit here
Stand there
Find shade as sweat pours off my face
Waiting on x-fill

Top: A Afghan child sands next to a donkey in Sabari Afghanistan on Jul. 28, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED)

Bottom: U.S. Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, hands an Afghan girl a bottle of water during an air assault mission to search the Khost province of Afghanistan during Operation Champion Sword on Jul. 29, 2009. Operation Champion Sword is a joint operation involving Afghanistan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Forces focused on specific militant targets and safe havens within Sabari and Terezai Districts of Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire / RELEASED )

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