Sway along with the cradling waves; they remind me of you
Found safe among the tide; a betrayer so true
Nourishing the senses; drowning in the deception
Abandoned like the wretched deceivers
A frigid embrace overcomes; warmth left only in hand
Your touch a damning reminder; slowly slipping further away
Taking me deeper into the royal shadows; a life left to waver
Entwine my heart in jaded sea tangle
Bleak moments become crushing memories; compression too intense to breath
Fear finds a place inside my heart; water in my lungs
Frightened not by the current; only by treachery
Hazy blue becomes nothing more than black
I reach the lowest place to be; coarse and caustic
We become something we swore not to be; villains of the circumstance
Nine thousands pounds of pressure; nine thousand ways to mislead
Left searching for the one way to say goodbye
“Blow it out your barracks bag, Hank.”
“All I’m saying is, it’s pretty obvious why you and I are out here and not in there.” said Private First Class Henry Davidson to his visibly frustrated Sergeant.
“Somebody’s gotta be out here, so I’m not sure I see your point. Ain’t nothing we’ve done different than any of those poor saps getting shredded downtown before getting here.” SGT Rinaldi chimed in response.
“Look Sarge, I’m not complaining about it. I’m just saying…the Captain must not think either of us are all that vital to the cause considering we’ve been sittin’ on our hands in this dump of a church for days now.”
The two of them were assigned to a recon position on the outskirts of Aachen during the offensive on the city itself. The Nazis were dug in deep and the US Army was advancing slowly, day by day, towards the middle of the town. They found themselves being ambushed often and were experiencing heavy losses along the way. The same could be said for the Germans that were left, though they were doing a good job of hit and run tactics by hiding out in cellars and attics before attacking in the dead of night. Capturing this town would be a huge step before the eventual push into Berlin. The enemies knew this and were fighting as if the war depended on the outcome. And in many ways, it did.
“Like I said, still better than getting shot or blown to pieces by some kraut bastard while you’re taking a shit.”
“That almost sounds like a better time than being stuck here with you another day or two.”
“Yeah well, I’m all you’ve got, kid. So either shut up or go kick bricks.”
They both knew that wasn’t true. They’d grown close over the last few months’ worth of fighting as the 30th Infantry Division and 1st Infantry Division stormed towards the “vaterland” under the banner of the 1st Army. Soldiers had a way of talking down to each other as a form of endearment, and their bond was no different.
“You know what would be really great? Beer.” said Henry, with his head resting on the back end of his machine gun; half looking out of a window and half falling asleep.
“Now why is it that you’re always finding new things to say that make me sad?”
“All I ever heard about before we got here was how great the beer is. And yet, I’m as dry as ever.”
“Kind of hard to find beer when half the city is piles of rubble; I’d venture to say most of the bars are probably good as gone.”
“But there’s gotta be something left right? Especially out here where we are.”
“I wouldn’t count on it. Those krauts were stuck in those pillboxes for weeks before we finally flushed them out. Probably drank every last drop in town.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Would be nice though…”
He heard SGT Rinaldi let out a deep sigh from his side of the tower.
“Yeah, yeah it would. What’s say I went out looking for some?”
“Ha. Yeah, I wish.”
“No, I’m serious. It’s not like our boys aren’t pushing further away from us here anyway. I really don’t think there’s going to be any Panzers crashing out of the tree line for us to have to warn them about at this point. And we’d be fucked if they did anyway; may as well see about having a drink or two before that were to happen.”
Henry turned on his side to look at the Sergeant behind him, almost waiting for him to admit to it being a joke.
“What? I swear. We’ve been through about as much shit as you can throw at a guy and now we’re just sitting out here waiting for…for what? A call that we can waltz into the city with the rest of the fellas or get killed in a counterattack. Fuck that.”
“I’m not sure who you are or what you did with the Sarge, but…welcome to the tower!”
“Like you said, there’s gotta be something left around here. Someone’s stash, a forgotten box tucked away in a closet, something for us to get a buzz from. If I just go out for an hour looking, what’s the worst that could happen?”
“And besides, I’ll still be up here if anything does go down. It’s not like this gun needs two of us once it’s placed down. I just won’t be able to shoot shit behind me.”
Sergeant Rinaldi raised himself up to a knee and pulled out the binoculars he kept in his belt. He started scanning the tops of buildings looking for any sign of some place that might hold their treasure. It was still dark out but the kind of dark that let you see enough just to spook yourself. Artillery had been pounding the city for weeks and had not let up at all. Strikes that were close to their position shook his vision through the binoculars, but had been happening for so long that he barely noticed.
“Can you even see through those things right now? It’s nighttime.”
“So you’re really going to do this?” asked Henry while now fully sitting and leaning against the sandbag wall covering his window.
“You sparked something inside of me, Hank. It’s a mission now. That’s how we’ll justify it if anyone catches me out there running around with a couple of bottles.”
“You better hope whoever catches you is wearing gray. It’ll be a lot quicker of an end than if some GI catches you away from your post and drags your ass back to HQ. The Captain will probably torture you before shooting you. The Nazis will just shoot you.”
The Sergeant started gathering his gear in preparation for what might end up being a huge mistake. But he knew that the payoff would make it all worth it. The battle was about to break one way or another, and he’d rather not have to go through that sober. He contemplated whether or not to leave his rifle.
“You might end up needing this more than I will. You can’t exactly defend yourself if someone gets inside and makes it up here.”
He handed the M1 Garand down to the PFC and pulled out his pistol.
“I’ll move faster with this, anyway. Plus, I’m going to need to both hands.”
“You really think you’re going to find some beer out there, don’t you? I was only half serious when I said it.”
“Yeah, well, I’m full serious. You and I are going to be as drunk as a couple of Sailors by noon.”
With that, he began the climb down the rickety old church tower’s ladder, which was all the more dangerous in the dark. He didn’t know for sure where he was going or for how long he’d be gone, but he was focused now. He wasn’t sure what it was that Hank said that set him off, but felt like what he said about being undervalued to the rest of the unit was true. He was going to at least prove to one person that he could get something done; even if it meant temporarily abandoning his post to accomplish that.
To Be Continued
I'd just like to announce that I've decided to split off 'Of The Dim' from this site here and post it on it's own separate website. I really want to focus most of my writing time and energy towards that story and felt like it could benefit having it's own place to keep everything front and center.
I'll still post all my other writings here, and will try not to let it go too long in between.
Thanks to those who visit when they can and who have supported me along the way!
The new website can be found at www.ofthedim.com
A melody of flame dances over the lands
Ceaseless ferocity of loss and ruin
Breathe of a million souls stifled by crimson smoke
Infernal atrocity of nature and negligence
Blue Mountains basked in fiery red
The devil of change and disregard
Dry winds are the betrayer of men
Electric currents of a barren destruction
Loss of life and home
Straining against reality of the inferno
Saying goodbye to the helpless
Becoming the hopeless
Embrace one final time
As the world ignites
As the world burns in silence
You let me in
But they say I have to go
The doorway to something different
Now a barrier to what I desire
Locked away behind
On the outside looking in
A place of comfort and passion
Memories left to fade
A wonder of what could have been
Is there more behind the door?
I finished putting together my poetry chapbook in between a lot going on in my personal life, and thought I'd share for those that might be interested! It's called A Witless Love and is just the first of what I'm hoping will be a number of poetry collections going forward.
I looked upon you with desire; a passion of pure fire
Your flames drew me closer; curiosity fused with admiration
An essence of pure intrigue and excitement
Dancing about in my eyes; swirling beyond the reality of my mind
The immense heat your smile creates in me is all that matters
But the closer I get; the further away I feel
Where comfort was meant to be; only the pain of the burns reside
Every step tore away a piece of me; and revealed the truths in you
I still saw the brightness that lured me here; but also the sad sensibility
Lost was the mystery; replaced by a revelation
You were the lantern promising warmth in a frigid darkness
And now the light that guides me to you hurts just as much as the hollowness
The sting of cold pales in comparison to the flare; the engulfing horizon
Yet I cannot look away; forever drawn to you
One more step; another bit of me taken apart
I’m left now with blinded vision and scorched emotions
Holding my fantasies together in my hands; losing what brought me here
Flesh and desires; beauty and brightness
I held such hope in you
Now I hold only the flames of your memory
Laugh now my sweet; rejoice in the calm
You can rest your troubled mind; your threadbare heart
A battle was fought before you
Pure kindness prevailed; a gift given to this world
You stood before a mountain of chaos; yet triumph was never a doubt
The scars will forever be a reminder; of strength and spirit
Against all doubt and odds
The purity of your love conquered; a simple truth
A body left broken; a resolve now unlike all others
Champion of a cherished place
A temptation of anger from deceit born before you
True courage in evading those feelings; bloodless wounds heal
Reckless self-indulgence took parts of you away; stole virtue by force
Yet you chose a better path; a way to forgive
Protector of pure thought and innocence
A foolish attempt at weakening your will; a fool most of all
You’ve always been better; and invariably must so be
This will not be your sole conflict; nor only victory
Lead us down the path of calmness
And remember to laugh