Torched

Outside mirror,

Rabid world thrashes by.

Just beyond right side window of the meatwagon,

Streamed scenes of foreign, bizarre moments:

Stick boy playing with stick and bottle, dressed in bag rags for a man twice his size.

Burned out colors of doors scored by kicks, grime and heavy pushes.

Gaping windows flagging torn sheets for curtains, wagging grey tongues in windless air.

And them: walking, gesturing, squatting, spitting, talking word spaghetti of street survival. The others.

Sputters, roars, whines from cars and trucks that have more filth on them than paint -- mules of bedraggled traders, tyrants, cheaters, and rich snitches.

Sickening flavor of old grease and strange vegetables glues itself to the inside of my nose.

Constant grit rub of grey dust, grinds in ruts on back of my eyelids.

Wrenching raw body sweat whiff of aged fear.

My patrol world hums and gargles alien routine.

Everywhere except the tiny fraction of hatred silence around us as we go by.

My gaze catches the whites of sideways glances.

Always a bad sign when they donít look you in the eyes.

Dropped piece of Spearmint gum,

Cool flavor for the fury of slow, routine patrol,

Where the stab heat of anxiety is always at the back of my throat.

I see it happening, in slow motion; the distant, flash and smoke. Corner window. RPG.

Meatwagon lifts and air dances.

Cart wheeling me over the insides as it flips and rolls.

Flaming metal bits and muscle parts covered in blistered white skin.

Whirlpool blend of mechanical and body bits, swirl around with me.

And, we rain in torrents down on the roof,

Which is now the burning floor.

Itís not that war is sliced moments of black terror in long ribbons of white daydreaming,

Itís the brutal change,

From everyday boredom of thinking about not dying to whatís left.

From gleaming tranquility of having a life and expectations, just sitting and riding,

To sprayed shards of torched visions that end in a black hole.

Hard to think, though everythingís crystal clear.

What is it? Synchronicity? Good luck?

I had dropped the piece of gum

And had to duck to the floor to find it.

The floor is usually death from IEDs,

But the dragon hit the other side,

And my luck of the draw place was an oasis in the split second inferno.

All things burn in fuel, of course, including my hamburgered driver in the front, and shredded gunner on top.

Burning smoke goes down, no up, to the twisted seats above.

Ripped into bits of crushed tuna cans, the wagon crumpled upside down by a hurricane force in a small fist,

The inside spray painted with the pits and pieces of the bodies of those now departed.

Everything looks different upside down.

Canít figure out how or why I am still alive.

There is nothing wrong with me.

Roll to a side not burning, find a 16 and fire.

At a moving target. Whatever. Whomever.

Nothing makes sense.

I should be dead with the others,

(Who will be forgotten in painful agony by their loved ones,

And are already forgotten by all those who say they care.)

Should be, But, I am not.

Though I may as well be,

For the shattered mirror of my mind,

Will only reflect this moment.

Over, and over, and over.

Till death do us part.

I must get off a few more rounds.