Kyle Devlin

Coasting Through Life
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2019-05-23 05:52:24 (UTC)

Poem: When the Sirens Blared

Background: I spent more than a year straight at Camp Anaconda / Balad, Iraq. The military base was nicknamed "Mortaritaville" because it was the most often attacked base in Iraq. The C-130 I flew in on had to perform emergency maneuvers and landing because we were targeted in our landing and every day since then, for more than a year straight, we dealt with multiple mortar attacks daily. This poem reflects an event and my mindset towards the end of a year and a half deployment.


As I sat beneath a lonely tree
The only tree
Within miles of me
In a desert where the sun beat down
upon me

My left hand had held
a half mug of coffee
As warm, rich, and smooth
as carnival toffee

Long months I’d waited
for THIS moment of bliss
A letter from home
From a family I miss

So resting my rifle upon my right knee
And leaning against that old gnarled tree
I read the writings of family
When the sirens blared

When the sirens blared
My hands did shake
But a sip of coffee
I would take
When the sirens blared
And I heard the boom
Saw the building explode
Becoming a tomb

I took another sip

I took a sip
forced myself to read:
My sister’d had her baby
My brother was in need

Many more mortars
Would fall that day
But to finish my letter
I resigned to stay

I would not let the terror take me
Perhaps that was my vanity
Sacrificing my safety
To maintain my sanity

Only after finishing my mug
And slipping the letter away
did I raise up my rifle
and entered the fray

Because I will not back down!
No I will NOT back down.