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12 November 2014

bitter holiday

all rank and file
and shining brass
fruit salad on your chest
parades and poppies
get lost in the dress

hero signs hang
around your neck
hang you up
so proud on display
of your better days
what are you now?

that emptiness
won't guide your steps
your happy home
went on without you
getting in the way
and all the thank yous know
you've seen better days

it's done it's over
you can't go back
you can't become
something new
your pedestal clings
and chafes
and hollows you out
while rabid onlookers
won't let you down

you're just a symbol now
all your lives
all your wretched loss
a talking point
and reality is
elusive as the solid ground

and there is no moving on
for the hollow heroes left behind

This poem was inspired by American Pie in the imaginary garden, Veteran's Day, and these three articles. Actually, four. Want to help a vet? Save your thanks. Instead, help us change this


  1. You present such an interesting perspective on a topic which is ever-contemporary, it would seem. What I would like to see changed is the cause: the conflicts which create the veterans, but we all know that is never going to happen. I don't think a little justice is too much to hope for.

  2. You wrapped the prompt up neatly in this wonderful poem, and tied it with a ribbon. Great write!

  3. The "hollows you out," line that really stands out for me...I believe this is a sentiment that so many of the veterans feel. Powerful write.

  4. So much loss in so many ways. You have captured that perfectly here Katy!

  5. The real heroics commence back home, when all that shrieking must somehow find a durable and sensible container ... easy for a god (or godlike action figure) but for a human hero? They not only fight the bar that has been set for them as well as we who steadfastly hold it in place. Everyone has to step into the fray, we can't outsource it, and we are responsible for those who have been sent far away to do that job. Thanks.