Legionnaire’s Disease

I wake up to view the morn’

The sun shines and the crisp air

Makes the hair on my neck stand-to

It’s too early to feel this depleted


Much to do and little time

But how, when time

Here is all that we have?

The quandary makes me numb


I walk these streets

In filth and famine and see

The losses and gains that

I measure block by block


I strain to see what lies beneath

In that odd pile of dirt

I am both right and wrong

It’s something, but nothing – this time


I extend my arm and open my vein freely

Lifeblood pours into its mouth

Clutching belly, the beast stirs displeased

It asks for more


I return, another days useless energy spent

And struggle to meet needs and demands

But between commitments and deadlines

I find time to open the newspaper


Words of trouble trouble me

Stories of destitution and crimes

Shootings in schools, town halls, campuses

Is it really not here, but there?


I am on the front line of Democracy

And while I toil to maintain the control

We fail to take control of ourselves

All an eggshell’s shadow, haunting me


For I am a Legionnaire on the frontier

Guarding my post dutifully

I sit on Hadrian’s Wall

While Rome rots from the inside

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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