The State of the Nation: Various Levels of Pain

by Charles Marshall

Poem


Our Voice Means Something

by Kennith Harvey

Poem


The Leaves Are Green

by Charles Fredette

Poem


Strange 7

by Daniel Strange

Art


Strange 2

by Daniel Strange

Art


"Forecaste"

by Lynn Norton

Poem


"Forecaste"

By Lynn Norton, Air Force

Writing Type: Poem

By Lynn A. Norton
—Leawood, KS


Drab clothing, shaved head, serried bunk and toilet, emblems
of military inductees, untouchable caste. Sentenced
to meaningless toil, degrading rites of passage. Loss of will,
privacy, dignity.  Erasure of self.  Deemed “lower than
whale shit” by shrieking drill-instructors. “Give me twenty!”

Sleeve with a single stripe, first rung on ladder
to elevated caste. Limited choice and movement,
relief from torturous training. Common laborer
conditioned to learn murderous craft. Heed advice.  
“Keep your head down.”  

Second stripe, higher rung, awarded sectioned barracks,
partitioned toilet, better chow. Leisure time, amusements
in venues commensurate to caste. Refine skills,
become a craftsman, dependable source
of putative violence. Follow orders. “Ignore your fear.”

Three stripes earn a rung with segregated housing,
dining choices. Responsibility to plan, lead, relay dictates
from superior castes. Supervise but no longer socialize.  
Trade privilege, resources to fuel the engine of combat.
Develop a muscular voice.  
“Kill the bastards and piss on their remains.”  

More stripes, higher elevation. Warrior, avenger, ruling caste
with mortal power. Manager of battlefields. Dutifully listen
to priestly castes above but do what experience demands.  
“Keep your head down. Ignore your fear.  
Kill the bastards and piss on their remains.  
Take no prisoners.”  

My grandson

by Ty Andrews

Drawing


Our Voice Means Something

by Kennith Harvey

Poem


Strange 4

by Daniel Strange

Art


I Left Mississippi

by Benjamin Williams

Poem


He Was the Enemy: A Soldier's Dilemma

by JonnieLynn Donatelli

Poem


We Got Here About the Time God Left

by W. Joseph O'Connell

Poem