Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Vest

Composite-stacked ceramic
And boron carbide,
Produced in flawless stacks,
Set in ballistic nylon,
Wrapped in bit-mapped camouflage. 
            Hand-molded plastic explosive,
            Finger-dented green/gray clay.
            Strips of duct tape torn on teeth,
            Scavenged wires,
            A nine-volt battery.
It is 35-pounds.
Add MOLLE pouches of
220 rounds 5.56 mm ball,
PVS-14 Night vision device,
Tactical LED flashlight,
Two PowerBars,
A St. Christopher medal.
The trauma plate
Clamped tight
Across a throbbing heart.
            18.21 kilos,
            Of economic explosive power,
            Chock with steel ball bearings,
            Rusted nails,
            A Minnie Mouse keychain
            Thrown in as a joke.
            Shaking wires are inserted
            Into the terminals
            Of the battery
            Hung between supple shoulder blades.
Add Rules of Engagement card,
Geneva Convention booklet,
Improvised Explosive Device ID pamphlet,
And omnipresent scrutiny
Of camera lenses, videophones, and
Ever-swarming blogosphere.
            Weighed with the severity of ancestry,
            The aegis of millennia,
            The densities of generations of
            Faith and righteousness,
            It seeks direct hits
            On newsprint across the globe.
The product of science,
Of industry, of modern innovation,
And limitless American funding.
It sails through Congressional budgets
Employs flag-toting constituents,
And stops AK-47 rounds
At point-blank range.
            An assemblage of
            Time-honed utility:
            Iranian plastique,
            A bastardized remote control.
            It costs two $100 USD bills,
            A few dinar,
            Years of refracted faith,
            And the unwavering word of Allah.
It is the best in the world
At what it does.
            It is the best in the world
            At what it does.           
But it is useless in fire,
Defenseless against concussion,
And cannot check human will.
            But it is vulnerable,
            To both wavering faith
            And faulty soldering.
Every day shield
A rock of security,
Defender of organs and arteries,
It is his home away from home
Away from home.
Guardian, defender,
Resistor of steel-jacket projectiles
And flying shredded steel,
One vehicle of many
To take him far back home.
            It is both accomplishment,
            And accomplice.
            A pinnacle;
            The achievement of study,
            Devotion and trial.
            The key to Jannah,
            His vessel to salvation;
            Virgin maidens,
            Beautiful mansions,
            And the favor of Allah.
It is technology
            It is finality
It is power projected
            It is faith absolute
It is his savior
            It is his conduit

It is his ticket out

Of dead-end jobs

Of street corner cigarettes.
And now it walks the dusted streets of Ba’qubah

Searching for culmination.
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