The ghosts of American
Wander the streets of Balad
by night,
Unsure of their way home,
The desert wind blowing
Down the narrow alleys as a voice
Sounds from the minaret, a soulful call
Reminding them how alone they are
how lost. And the Iraqi dead,
they watch in silence from rooftops
as date palms line the shore in silhouette,
leaning toward Mecca when the dawn wind blows.

Brian Turner was a sergeant and infantry team leader in the 3rd Stryker Brigade in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.His poems have been published in a collection :Here Bullet: (Alice James Books) This lament entitled Ashbah is a transliteration of the Arabic word for “ghosts.”

Joshua Morgan Folmar is a Marine Corps veteran who participated in 200 combat patrols in !raq;

Contemplating the Cotard Delusion on the Downeaster to Boston

Maybe I’m a walking corpse, or maybe I’m in a coma in
Germany, or Walter Reed, sucking MREs
through plastic tubes, while a few children in Haditha pick up bone
shards from the explosion and trade them like card games for chocolate.

My head droops against the window: face reflecting broken
limbs and stagnant water, blurring against the train’s scratched safety glass. And somewhere out there is my last combat patrol. And somewhere out there, my dead friends are waiting.

None of these veterans are at ease in America. They never will be. ( Chris Hedges: “ Pity the Children”, truth dig, 7/14/2014)

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